The Cubs need left-handed pop in a bad way and they love having lots of infield depth, though I’m not sure Jonathan Villar was anyone’s first thought when it comes to filling those holes. Robert Murray of Fansided tweeted that the Cubs have reached an agreement with Villar, who will turn 31 in May. Primarily a shortstop early in his career, Villar spent most of his time at second from 2017-19 and mainly played third for the Mets last season.
Free-agent infielder Jonathan Villar in agreement with the Chicago Cubs, pending physical, according to a source familiar with the situation.
— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) March 17, 2022
His defense leaves a lot to be desired, making him a questionable fit for a team that needs lots of health behind a contact-heavy rotation, but he’s a switch hitter who has tallied double-digit homers in each of the last five full seasons. His batting splits are almost identical, save for the difference in counting stats created by facing far more right-handed pitchers.
If this is a guaranteed MLB deal, it casts further doubt on the Cubs pursuing a big-money shortstop like Carlos Correa or Trevor Story when combined with the previous addition of Andrelton Simmons. Maybe Jed Hoyer wasn’t just blowing smoke when he said recently that he was happy with the middle infield situation. Or it could just be additional insurance in the event that David Bote isn’t able to return by June as anticipated.
Update: It’s a one-year, $6 million deal with performance incentives and a mutual option for 2023, per Mark Feinsand.
Jonathan Villar’s deal with the Cubs is for one year and $6M, per source. The deal also includes a mutual option for 2023 as well as performance bonuses.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) March 17, 2022
There’s also the idea that more moves are afoot, whether it’s a trade to acquire a starting pitcher or a deal with the Padres to take on Eric Hosmer in exchange for a big prospect. It feels like there are several strings still dangling untied.