Toronto Blue Jays pending UFA’s: Re-sign or pass
By Reuben Gasee
As Bo Bichette was out with a knee injury for a while, the Blue Jays were in need of a major league quality shortstop and they went out and got Jonathan Villar from the Miami Marlins in exchange for Griffin Conine who was a top 30 prospect in the Jays organization.
Prior to coming over to the Jays, he was slashing .259/.315/.345 with nine stolen bases. When he came to the Jays, he struggled mightily to a .188/.278/.203 slash line with 22 strikeouts in 69 at-bats but did swipe seven bags without getting caught once.
On the season as a whole, he slashed .232/.301/.292 with 16 stolen bases and got caught only five times which occurred all with the Marlins.
So, should the Blue Jays re-sign or pass on Villar?
For those that think I’m crazy, hear me out.
Villar struggled this season. No doubt. But if you look at previous seasons in his career, he was one of a few players that had a good combination of quality hitting and speed.
In 2019 with the Baltimore Orioles, he appeared in every single game slashing .274/.339/.453 with 176 hits, 24 home runs, and 40 stolen bases.
In 2016 with the Milwaukee Brewers, he slashed .285/.369/.457 with 168 hits and a ridiculous amount of stolen bases with 62 swiped bags which was the most in the league.
While he may not be the strongest defender, he can play second, third, and short which is very valuable. He can be considered a better version of Santiago Espinal.
Villar may not want to return as he’ll probably seek a starting job. Maybe the Jays can give him say $6 million to be a regular bench piece with a mutual option for a second season. If Villar can go back to his old ways, it would be a bargain deal.