The Angels announced that veteran infielder Jonathan Villar has cleared waivers and elected free agency rather than accept an outright assignment to Triple-A Salt Lake.
Villar, 31, began the season with the Cubs after signing a one-year, $6MM contract in free agency. It looked to be a nice enough value add by the Cubs, as Villar had been an above-average hitter with a nice blend of power and speed in two of the past three seasons (the exception being the shortened 2020 campaign). Even with an ugly showing in 2020, Villar came to the Cubs with a .259/.327/.417 slash over his past 1456 plate appearances.
Unfortunately for Villar and for both of the teams for which he’s suited up this year, his 2022 season looks a lot more like his 2020 campaign than his strong 2019 and 2021 years. The Cubs cut Villar loose after he hit just .222/.271/.327 through 166 plate appearances, and things deteriorated even further with the Angels. In 54 trips to the plate as a Halo, Villar hit just .163/.226/.224.
This year’s rough showing notwithstanding, Villar is a 10-year Major League veteran with a decent track record and some versatility. The switch-hitting Villar has logged 3456 career innings at shortstop, 2911 innings at second base and 1380 innings at third base (to say nothing of some very brief forays into outfield work). He hasn’t been considered a strong defender at any of the three positions but, until the 2022 season at least, had generally rated as a roughly average option at second base.
Villar could very well still latch on with a club looking for some infield depth, although given this season’s struggles, he’ll likely be asked to settle for a minor league deal and look to get back on track in Triple-A.