The Cubs have officially released infielder Jonathan Villar, per MLB.com’s transaction tracker. This move comes in the wake of the team designating Villar for assignment last Friday. The 31-year-old infielder is now a free agent eligible to sign with any team for the league minimum, with the remainder of this offseason’s $6MM deal stuck on the Cubs’ books.
Despite jockeying for last place in the NL Central, the Cubs offense has actually been a middle-of-the-pack unit by numerous offensive metrics this season. As his release a few months into the season indicates, however, Villar was not contributing much to that silver lining. Through 46 games the switch hitter slashed .222/.271/.327 (67 OPS+) with just two home runs, a far cry from his usually solid career numbers of .256/.324/.399.
With David Bote’s return from the IL and team-controlled infielders like Patrick Wisdom and Nico Hoerner outproducing the lame duck Villar, it appears there was little incentive for Chicago to keep carrying a veteran with minimal trade value. The same can be said for Chicago’s other veteran infielder signing this past offseason, Andrelton Simmons. The 32-year-old Simmons has limped to a feeble .188/.212/.188 (14 OPS+) slash line this year, though shoulder issues are likely to blame for some of that showing. Given Simmons’ ongoing aptitude with the glove and almost inevitable regression to the mean, the team likely found more utility in hanging onto Simmons over Villar.
Despite the substandard first half, Villar’s profile should still hold appeal for other clubs. Even with declining speed, the infielder’s calling card has always been his penchant for steals, and that remained the case this year with a perfect 6-for-6 showing in that department. Additionally, while the Cubs ran out of patience for their offseason acquisition to turn a corner there are likely some hitting coaches out there who feel they can coax more production out of Villar’s bat. After all, he’s only a year removed from a solid 18-home run, 101 OPS+ showing with the Mets and has an average exit velocity not seen since his breakout season with the Brewers in 2016.
Your team should trade for Duvall. Apparently, he is a good hitter.
Hoping the Braves take a chance and play him at 2nd/infield utility. Besides, I’m sure he will love killing the Mets coming up and help the Braves overtake the overachieving Mets.
Dr. Chim Richalds
Hoping you lose your Wifi signal or your phone breaks, and you can’t connect to this site anymore. Definitely one of the bigger turds on these boards, which is strange honestly as most Braves fans aren’t this obnoxious.
Both have been terrible with the bat but at least Simmons isn’t kicking the ball around
Dr. Chim Richalds
Glove or no Simmons is not a big leaguer anymore. Currently sitting at an OPS of .400 and his OPS+ is 14. That’s pitcher level hitting. All of Hoyer’s moves were misses this off-season.
In fairness,,it’s way too soon to know what Seiya Suzuki is going to be. And Robertson has been excellent.
Dr. Chim Richalds
I’ll give you Robertson. The bright spot for sure. Suzuki is Fukudome 2.0. Villar. Simmons. Jackson Frazier. Miley. (not Jed’s fault, but still not getting any value there). Stroman doesn’t look good. Madrigal is total garbage. .500 OPS and below .300 on base. Gomes isn’t worth the 14 million, when you could have just played Higgins there. Heyward still getting at bats is on Jed too. Not a great start for the him as the king there. One of the Top 5 least exciting teams in baseball.
Way too soon to put Suzuki in the Fukudome category and to trash Madrigal. Everyone was saying what a great move grabbing Miley was. I’ll bet you were one. Smiley was pitching well when he went down. Gomes is absolutely better than Higgins across the board and the two young starters, Steele and Thompson rave about how he’s helping them. And while neither you or I know who exactly is responsible for the lingering of Heyward, I would bet It’s Ricketts who refuses to bite the bullet on him.
Simmons’ last four years’ hard-hit percentage: 37.7% (near league average), then 31.4%, 21.8%, and 11.1%. I don’t know what happened, but his ability to put wood on the ball is just gone. Sad, because with that glove he had a shot at 60 WAR and the HoF if he just hit league-average.
Dr. Chim Richalds;
Like Mike Hazen, Jed Hoyer made his name and rep by assisting Theo Epstein. Both appear to be class individuals; liked and respected by those they work with and interact with. Both know a lot about how MLB teams are run today – surely far more that I or any fan.
Their track records are to go through rebuilds, get their teams to a completive level for a bit, then sputter.
As for the moves you’re referencing – the new GM is Carter Hawkins. We don’t know how much input he had into the offseason moves.
Dr. Chim Richalds
Carter Hawkins can hold that title, but Jed is calling the shots, just like Theo before him. And the statement about being a class individual doesn’t even matter. Jason Heyward is a class human being…..but he sucks at baseball now. Besides, class isn’t a qualification for being a good PBO/GM. The Pirates or the Orioles fans will tell you. They would rather have a dbag that can fill a roster, rather than classy losers. Argument rejected.
I wasn’t making an “argument”.
I was stating some facts.
Point fingers much?
So now that you’re all upset about your baseball team, how about listing a few “dbag[s] that can fill a roster” and would be willing to work for the Cubs?
P.S. And in the real world, there’s a lot more a POBO is responsible for other than to fill the ML roster. But you’re on the right site! 95% of people on here think MLB is rotisserie baseball.
C Yards Jeff
@Dr. Chim Richalds, Good morning. I can’t speak for all Os fans, but in my humble very amatuer view of Baltimore’s rebuild, Mike Elias is no “dbag”. Under his direction, since late 2018, Baltimore has developed one of best farm systems in the game. I believe one publication has them at #1. And it’s not just because of recent high draft pick action. He also continues to develop players from the Duquette era, uses the minor league free agent market and has gotten some players in a couple of salary dump trades. That’s right, salary dump trades. Looks like owner John Angelos made it clear from day one to go cheap at the MLB level until minor league talent is ready to move up. And Elias is following orders. One such trade that comes to mind was Villar to the Marlins for Easton. Easton is still in the system. Will he make the show? Probably not. But at least Elias got something. IE he didn’t stick ownership with dead millions on the books.
Fred K. Burke
Carter Hawkins took lesson from Ryan Pace (Former Bears GM). He’s the invisible GM.
I saw Villars defensive numbers and not good especially if he’s looking for part time work. Yikes
It looks worse when you watch him play. The guy is a defensive mess to match his mental mess.
What is the basis for your “mental mess” assertion?
May be referring to Villar’s notoriously bad baseball IQ. Isn’t he the guy who got thrown out TWICE in one trip to the bases?
@gbs42 What @Cosmo2 said about Villar’s bad baseball IQ. Nearly every stop Villar’s been at, fans were too happy to be rid of him and his boneheaded decision making, and inability to follow instructions designed to keep him from screwing things up.
Obvious pick up for the Angels. Assuming they have any interest in winning. Sadly, Villar would be an instant improvement in the infield over anyone not named Jared Walsh.
-0.6 WAR….but sure, he’ll make the Angels better.
Angels and the fanbase need to cut the crap with this mentality.
Avoid this and all has-been players like him at all costs.
If they aren’t 100 OPS+ or better the past season or so, keep moving on.
5toolMVP – by all means, let’s continue with Andrew Velazquez’s .172 average and .217 OBP.
Don’t be dumb.No let’s not, but let’s acquire an actual long term (2-5yr) upgrade with a OPS+ 100 or better.
Im on record saying I wish the Angels would designate/trade Velazquez, Wade, Rengifo, Duffy, Mayfield for some actual starting SS/2B options. ENOUGH of these scrubs with OPS+ 35-70
That’s my baseline.
Villar: -0.7 WAR
Velazquez: 0.9 WAR.
Both offer crappy OPS+
At least Velazquez doesn’t kill you with the glove, but that bat is atrocious.
You’re crazy if you’d rather stand pat with Velazquez, Mayfield, Wade, Rengifo, et al. Because that’s what you’re essentially suggesting since we know the front office will *not* bring in a legit SS. They had plenty of opportunity over the offseason to sign a quality SS.
Villar is a good example of someone that could benefit from a change of scenery—he’s clearly a much better player than this year’s stats (-0.7 WAR). And 100x better than Velazquez. Villar’s WAR was 1.8 just last year.
Velazquez is an automatic out; his defense doesn’t make up for his atrocious bat. Villar would give us a better shot at competing now. He wouldn’t be a long term solution but someone that would instantly improve the middle infield at league minimum.
Stand pat?! WTF are talking about?? I never said that.
Your reading comprehension is like Villar’s WAR in 2022… -0.7!!
I NEVER said “rather stand pat” with any of those guys. I said they need to upgrade from these players to LEGIT STARTERS 2.0+ WAR guys, OPS+ >100 guys.
Villar is just another crappy MI of what they currently have. As if 5 crappy MI aren’t enough, let’s add Villar too!! Heck let’s bring back Simmons while were at it!! Collect ALL the crappy SS/2B we can.
Great plan Orange2001! NOT!!!
Raise the bar!! EXPECT BETTER!!
That’s the problem Angel fans are conditioned to just hope for a slight upgrade and give a scrap heap retread another try. We can fix him, change of scenery will help, BLAH BLAH BLAH.
Villar doesn’t do that. HARD PASS!
Oh and FYI…This Angel season is a lost cause in case you didn’t know.
Perry mucked this up with the collection of below average reserve middle infielders. Perry is on record as saying are good enough to contend as is…(pause as we all laugh!!!) maybe firing Maddon was warranted, but the FIRST move should have been to realize he was clearly WRONG with these band-aid SS/2B players and upgraded the roster before it even became a 0-12 losing streak!! A roster shakeup (upgrade!) was needed…besides the usual demote Adell, Mayfield, Rengifo, etc. revolving door.
Mariners could use him
Come to sf the infield is a MESS
And you think Villar will fix it?
Alright…next up, Simmons, Heyward, Norris! Never an advocate for anyone to lose their job. These dudes just need a “fresh” start with a different franchise.
Teams should clear of anyone the Cubs release right now. That roster is sheer trash.
And your team that was supposed to win the AL, has now lost 6 of their last 8, lol. But I guarantee, the next time your Chisox win a game, that Stevie Stone will be proclaiming that it will be the turning point of the season.
I think the people thinking Villar would be a good pickup for their team havent seen him recently. Maybe just maybe the bat could turn around but the defense is just awful right now. Combine that w he clearly is not in great shape and every decent team has better options.
Villar is a good pickup for after rosters expand later this season. Strictly pinch runner Terrance gore style
Matt Davidson has to be pissed Patrick Wisdom has a spot on an MLB roster.
They both strikeout above 30%, have terrible pitch recognition, and can’t play defense to save their lives.
That’s me! I could do all those things.
BeansforJesus is farting out his pie hole! Wisdom is an excellent defender at third with a cannon arm. His k rate is going down now and his at bats are quality.
Yeah? He’s an excellent defender in 2022? Hahah k rate going down and quality ABs you’re laughable.
Sounds like you want Patrick to fart in your pie hole.
Wisdom is actually pretty good defensively, but don’t let that get in your way of trying to be funny.
Villar is a prize in the bargain bin. He was good for 1..7 WAR just last season and he is only 31.. For prorated league minimum, he’s a much better option for a competitive team dealing with infield injuries than bringing up a fringe minor leaguer just to fill the position..
Yeah I feel like almost any club will offer the chance for basically nothing, if he fails you drop him as well. I feel like The angels, marlins, Red Sox, guardians, twins or giants will be his next landing spot.
Booby prize in the bargain bin maybe.
Raise your standards.
Terrible fielder in decline having a terrible year. I’ll take the fringe minor leaguer over that every day.
It could be he just doesn’t like being a Cub. He’s only 31 and has tools.
nahhh! The easiest way off the Cubs is to play well and get flipped for prospects. He just isn’t very good at baseball.
Yea he left because the Cubs didn’t want him, NOT the other way around. I mean, look at his stats. Tools? Maybe in a shed somewhere but not in baseball terms. He’s not a good hitter and he’s a bad fielder. Tools? What does that even mean?… as I write this I feel like maybe I’m just taking bait here
Hey Mets, Villar did good for us last year, why not use him as a bench player
Cuz he’s terrible now
I called him :Viller the thriller” when with the Brewers. Makes great plays and then bad play, but always exciting. He had some great years after leaving the Brewers. They should have kept him for a few more years. I hope he regains his form of last year.
NYM fan here Villar I think may have motivation issues. TOR fans said his play was similar to this years..uninspiring etc. He signed late I don’t think he was happy to sign with CUB but likes 6M of course. I think he would generally be happy to be back with NYM and Buck would use him correctly.
His overall defense can be slightly above avg IMHO despite his underwhelming stats.
he would provide a spark to their offense Cano could not.. I might be wrong but I would take a shot. LGM Ya Gotta Believe. Win the Division Beat ATL, PHI, MIA!
Man I hope someone keeps this away from Mozalock
Cubs are a mess, who is there best player other than Wilson Contraras, but Wrigley is nice, they still pack it with an incredibly bad team