The Blue Jays made yet another deadline acquisition on Monday, acquiring versatile infielder and speedster Jonathan Villar from the Miami Marlins.
It’s been a busy last few days for Ross Atkins and the Blue Jays front office, and a particularly frantic day ahead of the trade deadline on Monday.
Just prior to the game starting against the Orioles, we learned that the Blue Jays had added left-handed starter Robbie Ray from the Arizona Diamondbacks, who comes with cash and will be exchanged for Travis Bergen. Atkins wasn’t done there though, as he swung a deal with the Miami Marlins to bring in a talented and versatile player in Jonathan Villar, first reported by Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic. The assumption is Villar will be the everyday shortstop until Bo Bichette is able to return, and he has the ability to move around when necessarily.
Villar isn’t just a utility-man, as he was an extremely valuable player for the Orioles last season when he hit 24 home runs and 40 stolen bases. He also hit .272/.339/.453, and played both second base and shortstop, while having experience at third and in the outfield as well.
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Villar is the third player the Blue Jays have acquired ahead of today’s deadline, and surprisingly all three are considered “rentals” who will hit free agency at the end of the season. That brought the acquisition cost down for both Walker and Ray, and the assumption is it was likely the case for Villar as well, although it’s not yet known as of this writing. That said, I’ll provide an update as soon as it’s available. *Update- it’s being reported that Griffin Conine will be headed to Miami in the deal, whose father played for the Marlins for many years.
The Blue Jays have seen their playoff chances rise as high as 78.9% according Fangraphs at the start of Monday’s schedule, and additions like Villar, Ray, and Walker should improve their chances even more. Fortunately they’ve been able to improve the roster without giving up top-tier prospects like Simeon Woods Richardson, Alek Manoah, Adam Kloffenstein, or several others.
With the Blue Jays set to play in Miami tomorrow, they should be able to have Villar join them fairly quickly. We’ll see if he’ll be available for the first game, and I’m sure it’ll be a little strange for him to immediately play against his former teammates, but that’s also life in the big leagues, especially when you’re a veteran on an expiring deal.
Fans may have to give the Blue Jays’ front office some credit where it’s due for the way they’ve handled this month’s deadline. They’ve been aggressive, while protecting their long-term rebuild, and hopefully it’ll work out to a best of both world’s type of situation.