The Chicago Cubs are bringing on free-agent infielder Jonathan Villar, as first reported by FanSided’s Robert Murray on Wednesday afternoon.
The deal is for one year worth $6 million.
Villar was a vital member of a Mets team that was derailed by injuries throughout the season that included long-term absences of Francisco Lindor, Jeff McNeil, and JD Davis. It allowed him to get more playing time than originally expected after the 30-year-old had much to prove after a disappointing 2020 season with the Miami Marlins and Toronto Blue Jays. After batting .274 with 24 home runs in 2019 with the Baltimore Orioles, Villar batted just .232 with a .593 OPS with two home runs and 15 RBI in 52 games.
In New York, Villar batted .249 with a .738 OPS with 18 home runs and 42 RBI in 454 at-bats over 142 games while playing at second base, third base, and shortstop.
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That kind of versatility will be welcomed in Chicago as a proven bench option behind Nick Madrigal, Patrick Wisdom, David Bote, Nico Hoerner, and the newly-acquired Andrelton Simmons — the smooth-fielding shortstop heading to the Windy City earlier this week.
This is the second notable signing in as many days for the Cubs, who broke the bank to sign Japanese superstar outfielder Seiya Suzuki to a five-year, $85 million deal and add even further versatility to a roster that had once lacked just that. Not only can Suzuki man left field, but he also has experience playing second and third base — though he will get most of his reps in the outfield.