By: Michael Ganci

Jonathan Villar was an under-the-radar solid acquisition


The New York Mets recently announced that the team has signed infielder Jonathan Villar to a one-year contract. In a corresponding move, RHP Brad Brach has been designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster.

Villar, 29, ranks fourth in the majors with 218 stolen bases since 2013. He led the major leagues with a career-high 62 steals in 2016 with Milwaukee and has accumulated 35-or-more stolen bases in a season three times (2016, 2018 and 2019). Villar and Dee Strange-Gordon are the only active players who have stolen at least 60 bases in one season. From 2016-2019, Villar produced four consecutive seasons of 10-or-more home runs and at least 20 stolen bases. He and Trea Turner were the only two players to do so over that stretch.

The 6-foot, 233-pound infielder appeared in all 162 of Baltimore’s games in 2019 and set career-best marks with 111 runs scored, 176 hits, five triples, 24 home runs and 73 RBI. He spent the first half of the 2020 season with Miami before being traded to Toronto at the trade deadline. In 52 total games, he slashed .232/.301/.292 with five doubles, two homers, 15 RBI and 16 stolen bases.

The La Vega, Dominican Republic native is one of just two active players, along with his fellow countryman Starlin Castro, who has started at least 300 games at both shortstop and second base since his rookie season in 2013. He has also seen action at third base (54 games), center field (10 games) and left field (five games).

The switch-hitting Villar was originally signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008 before being dealt to Houston in a swap for RHP Roy Oswalt in 2010. He debuted with the Astros in 2013 and has played eight major league seasons with Houston (2013-2015), Milwaukee (2016-2018), Baltimore (2018-2019), Miami (2020) and Toronto (2020).

RAPID REACTION: Villar is not very far removed from being a serious disruption for opposing pitchers, especially on the basepaths. While he’s not exactly a phenomenal fielder, he has positional versatility which is always coveted, especially in the National League game that “currently” does not have the Designated Hitter. I still think the Mets are best when Jeff McNeil is at second base, but it looks like they are seriously nervous about the defensively liability J.D. Davis can be at third. Unless the Mets make a trade, it would seem Villar’s most likely path to playing time is at second or third against right handed pitching. I think he’s more valuable as super sub, but we’ll see how Luis Rojas and the Mets play it.

About Michael Ganci

Michael Ganci is the Co-Founder of the Daily Stache, along with Matthew Falkenbury. Since 2008, Ganci has eat, drank and dreamt all things Mets, and he'd have it no other way. Feel free to follow him on Twitter at @DailyStache.

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