Jonathan Villar was recently waived by the Baltimore Orioles. The Cincinnati Reds should pounce on the opportunity to land the switch-hitting slugger.
The Cincinnati Reds front office has been quite adamant about upgrading the roster this offseason; particularly the hitting. Adding Jonathan Villar would do just that. The switch-hitting middle infielder has suddenly become available after the Baltimore Orioles placed Villar on outright waivers Wednesday. Cincinnati should act quickly.
The outright waiver process works a bit differently than free agency. When a player is placed on waivers, other teams can submit a claim. There will be no shortage for Villar’s services, so more than a few claims may be submitted. However, the claiming team must pay the player’s salary for the upcoming season. In the case of Villar, MLB Trade Rumors estimates that to be $10.4M.
Villar saw time at both second base and shortstop last season. While there is some debate over which position is the best fit defensively for the 28-year-old, he’d be a serviceable option at both. While not elite defensively, Villar certainly would bring a potent punch to an offense that struggled mightily in 2019.
Last season, Villar registered a .274/.339/.453 slash line with 24 home runs and 74 RBIs. Villar also racked up 40 stolen bases, third-most in the American League and league in that category back in 2016 with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Jonathan Villar would fit perfectly with what the Reds are trying to do this offseason. If you’re looking for power, speed, and on-base percentage, Villar checks all those boxes. Villar also started 105 games in the leadoff spot for the Orioles last season. The Reds roster is not ripe with options for the No.1 spot in the batting order, and Villar could certainly offer an upgrade in that department.
There’s also the scarcity among shortstops on the open market. Outside of Didi Gregorius and, perhaps, José Iglesias, there isn’t much to speak of in free agency. The Reds current crop of middle infielders includes Freddy Galvis, José Peraza, and Josh VanMeter. None of those players move the needle the way an addition like Villar can.
A leadoff hitter with speed who can hit for power, where do I sign up? The Reds need to solidify one of those middle infield spots, and Villar can do just that. He’d only be under contract for one year, so even if he didn’t match the production of last season, Cincinnati wouldn’t be on the hook for a large amount of money over several years.
Adding Jonathan Villar to the Cincinnati Reds roster seems like match. Perhaps Dick Williams and Nick Krall should do some Black Friday shopping for a new shortstop. We’ll find out very soon what the future holds for Villar. I’m sure a lot of fans throughout Reds Country are hoping that he finds a home in Cincinnati.