The Mariners have agreed to a minor league deal with veteran infielder Jonathan Villar, reports Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times (Twitter link). The ACES client will head to Triple-A Tacoma for the time being. Villar was released by the Angels late last week and by the Cubs earlier in the summer.
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.
While this year’s production, or lack thereof, has been glaring, Villar is still a 10-year big league veteran with recent success at the plate and plenty of defensive versatility. As far as a depth option to stash in Triple-A, he’s a good one to have. If he can get back on track in the minors, he could feasibly join the Mariners later in the season and give them some speed and flexibility on the bench.