Villar registered a 109 OPS+ last season, smashing 24 homers and stealing 40 bases. He’s a decent defender, having played extended time at shortstop and third base as well as his favoured second. On top of that, Villar has spent some time playing in the outfield for the Astros back in 2015 and the Brewers in 2017.
Baltimore, who are several years from being competitive, clearly are not keen on paying Villar in 2020. The decision to place him on waivers was a surprise, however, particularly when they likely could have got a solid prospect return at the trade deadline.
Plenty of teams could do with Villar for 2020. These three are perhaps the trio most in need…
Farhan Zaidi has tried to balance retooling the Giants with remaining competitive, a difficult tightrope to walk. With the unpopular Gabe Kapler in charge, Zaidi is under pressure to produce a Giants roster than can be competitive in 2020 even if Madison Bumgarner doesn’t return. San Francisco were dire at second base last season.
Mauricio Dubon will get plenty of time to prove himself after showing flashes in the closing weeks, but Villar’s value to the Giants would be his versatility as much as his production. Evan Longoria and Brandon Crawford need rest – and may well spend time on the IL. Villar can cover both spots and brings athleticism and pop to a team that has lacked both in recent years.
Boston are in an odd spot. Rumours of a Mookie Betts trade are circling, and the payroll seems to be a bigger concern than putting a winner on the field. If they are looking to seriously challenge the Yankees and Rays, second base is one of the first positions to fix. Brock Holt, Marco Hernandez and Michael Chavis shared the majority of plate appearances in 2019 – the Red Sox were 27th in wins above average from second per Baseball Reference.
Villar’s projected salary may turn out to be an issue for the Red Sox. With the current state of their roster, they are not going to be competitive if they aren’t willing to make deals like this. Putting Villar with Xander Bogaerts solves one of their main issues and adds another handy offensive player alongside Andrew Benintendi, JD Martinez and Betts.
The Cincinnati Reds have already been linked with former Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorious. There’s plenty of work to be done for Cincy this offseason after a peculiar set of moves last winter and another year below .500. Villar should be a target for a team that ranked in the bottom five in MLB in production from the middle infield spots.
Jose Iglesias – a free agent – and Jose Peraza, provided very little offensively last season. Derek Dietrich offered some power from the left-side, but there’s no question that the middle infield is an area the Reds must address. Villar could prove to be the best value player on the market, giving a bit of everything. Who knows, maybe he ends up paired with Gregorius at Great American Ball Park.