With the CBA now ratified and teams across the league are starting to make moves to finalize their rosters, it appears that the Toronto Blue Jays have reached out to a former player to try and improve their current squad heading into the 2022 season.
As per Hector Gomez of Z101 Digital, infielder Jonathan Villar has reportedly been offered a one-year contract from the Blue Jays worth $6.5 million, with another $1.0 million in added incentives. While at first it was reported that Villar had outright rejected the offer, Gomez later updated his tweet to state that the Dominican product was still weighing his options, which included the Blue Jays deal.
You might remember Villar from back in 2020, when the front office acquired him from the Miami Marlins at the trade deadline to help shore up the infield, splitting time at shortstop and second base. The switch-hitting infielder ended up posting some of the worst stats of his career with the Jays, slashing .188/.278/.203 with a .481 OPS while also getting picked off numerous times on the basepaths due to poor baserunning, which rubbed fans the wrong way.
Things didn’t get better for the Jays fanbase when Villar was pinch-hit for in the Blue Jays Wild Card series against the Tampa Bay Rays and it appeared that the infielder had gathered his things and was no longer in the dugout. What followed was an absolute onslaught from the Jays faithful, labelling him as a quitter and a horde of other NSFW material that seemed to have burned the bridge between club and player (and fanbase).
Villar would sign on with the New York Mets for the 2021 season, finding his bat to the tune of a .738 OPS while he became the club’s primary third baseman with some stints at shortstop and second. He also contributed 18 home runs and 42 RBI while stealing 14 bases through 454 at-bats with the Mets organization.
Now a free agent, Villar is reportedly gaining interest from the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers, on top of what the Blue Jays have already offered him, but to be honest, it seems a bit weird that Ross Atkins and co. would offer him a deal in the first place, and not just because of his skill.
It was reported late Saturday night that the Blue Jays had reportedly offered free agent and previous player Jonathan Villar a one-year contract.
I truly did think that when he appeared to leave the bench during that playoff series against the Rays that it was the “nail in the coffin” sort of speak between player and team. Villar appeared to be unhappy, and rightfully so after going through one of the tougher stretches of his career, and fans seemed more than happy to see him go elsewhere, especially after that final display.
For a club that prides itself so much on clubhouse atmosphere and finding the right players to gel and work together, it just seems odd that Ross Atkins would be alright bringing back Villar after what appeared to be a really rough scenario first go-round. Villar may have been a clubhouse type of guy and got along with the younger core behind the scenes but it just seems out of place given how that series with the Rays ended with him looking to get out as quickly as possible.
Overall, it appears that the club is interested in bringing him back to the Blue Jays but potentially more as a veteran bench piece/DH that would hopefully bring stability in the event that Cavan Biggio or Santiago Espinal struggle this year, as well as providing another player who can hit from the left side.
He also could be brought in to be a replacement for someone on the roster, in the event that Biggio or Espinal are traded prior to Opening Day, especially since $6.5 million is not a small chunk of change for a player who looks to be more of a bench piece given the current roster.
Could this be a sign of bigger things to come for the Blue Jays?