Jonathan Villar Signing Made Zero Sense

With the slow crawl of the free agent market, there were still a number of quality depth players available in free agency. Instead, the New York Mets opted to sign Jonathan Villar.

Villar, 29, has been an everyday player for most of his career. The last time he served in a utility role was with the 2017 Milwaukee Brewers. In that season, Villar hit .241/.293/.372. That 2017 season also happens to be the worst year of his career. By and large looking at that and his career as a whole, there really isn’t evidence Villar is well equipped to be a utility player.

That said, this is still a Mets team without a third baseman, and they don’t have a clear path at the moment to get one. Given the situation, it doesn’t hurt to add a player like Villar who has shown he can handle playing everyday, and he has shown the ability to play at different positions. However, that is only part of the equation.

When you look at Villar’s career, especially of late, you’d be hard pressed to find a reason why this is a good signing.

Since 2017, Villar is hitting .258/.320/.397 with a 91 wRC+. His being below average offensively is all the more alarming when you consider much of that was buttressed by a 2019 season where he hit .274/.339/.453 with a 109 wRC+. That 2019 season was mostly driven by a juiced ball and a .341 BABIP.

Looking at Baseball Savant, there is little hope for Villar to prove to be a good hitter. He has always had low hard hit rates, barrels, and launch angles. Yes, the noted exception was 2019 which had a juiced ball. If we are to believe baseball, they are going to go in the complete opposite direction and deaden that ball thereby removing all hope for Villar to repeat that season.

Suffice it to say, Villar is not a good hitter. Conversely, Villar has proven to be a very good pinch hitter with a .315/.327/.500 batting line in 55 appearances.  While promising, that is a very small sample size.

Now, utility players need not be perfect. After all, if they were, they would be everyday players and not utility players. There is nothing wrong with having a utility player who doesn’t hit all that well but is a good fielder. Unfortunately, Villar is not a good fielder.

Since 2017, Villar is a -2 DRS at second base, -5 DRS at short, and a -3 DRS in the outfield. He hasn’t played third since 2016, and he has been a -7 DRS there in 429.0 innings. Really, there isn’t any place in the infield you feel comfortable sticking him and providing you good defense. All told, Villar is a classic case of just because you’ve played a number of positions, it doesn’t really mean you should play any of them. And if you can’t play positions well, you’re not really versatile.

Really, if you look at Villar the only thing he can provide is really good base running. He is a very good base runner who can steal bases even if he has declining speed. While he’s exceptional at that, it is not something which helps the Mets all that much. Most of the Mets everyday lineup has speed and are not going to be removed normally for a pinch runner. Really, teams don’t utilize pinch runners all that much until rosters expand late in the season, which they don’t really expand all that much anymore.

When you look at Villar, this is player who doesn’t hit and can’t field. He doesn’t solve the Mets third base need, and his presence promises to take away reps from Luis Guillorme who is a superior player. There were also far more superior options available and better fits for this Mets roster like Jedd Gyorko and Todd Frazier.

Really, the Mets could have and should have done better than Villar. In the end, we can only hope the Mets knew something we don’t about him because based on all that we see this isn’t a move which really helps improve the Mets roster.

10 Replies to “Jonathan Villar Signing Made Zero Sense”

  1. Reese Kaplan says:

    During 2018 to 2020 there is a three year period on which to judge what these two players mentioned can do. Todd Frazier provided 4.2 WAR at a total salary of $22 million. He is projected to hit 17 HRs, 57 RBIs and bat .230.

    During that time Jonathan Villar provided 6.5 WAR at a total salary of $15.6 million. He is projected to hit 16 HRs, 54 RBIs and steal 30 bases while hitting .254.

    Villar is turning 30. Frazier is turning 36. Villar plays several positions. Frazier plays 3B and 1B. I’ll take Villar.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Here’s the problem with that line of thinking. Much of the value Villar provided was in a career year in 2019.

      There is nothing from Villar’s profile to show that’s repeatable. Really, it was driven by the juiced ball. Basically, that makes him a faster J.D. Davis

      1. gjbold says:


        1. metsdaddy says:

          But, he really can’t play all over the infield

  2. LongTimeFan1 says:

    As I previously said on this blog, Villar’s not a fit as utility player because of his poor defense when this team is in need of better defense.

    Outside of that however, Villar is good fit for the rest of the role he’s tasked to fill, providing capable, albeit inconsistent right hand bat as well as speed off the bench. This signing comes late in the offseason as we near spring training when better options already signed elsewhere.

    It further emphasizes Alderson’s failure this offseason to improve the team more than he has. We see a lot of the same Sandy we saw in his first Mets tenure, exactly as I predicted. Money or not, he’s still the same, every offseason falling short of doing what the team needs.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Alderson has faltered this month, but overall, he’s done an outstanding job significantly improving this roster b

  3. LongTimefan1 says:

    Alderson always falls short every offseason not doing enough.

    This offseason he traded away 4 young players as part of a deal to get one of the best position players in the game who could also leave for free agency after this season. The most certain part of that trade was getting several years of control of Carrassco who is fine pitcher and person.

    Alderson also opted not to offer enough to sign the CF we needed. Instead, he redirected money to try to sign Bauer who Mets felt really wanted to play in his hometown in California.

    As it currently stands, we head into Spring training with defensive weakness in 3 presumed starters, in which two of 3 are playing positions they are not strongest.

    And to this point, he has done nothing to address the defensive weakness at third base – i.e., acquiring a player who is better there defensively than what we’ve thus seen from Davis. If Davis plays third regularly across full season, he may be OK there, but we don’t know that.

    I’ve read some headlines that we may be pursuing Justin Turner for return. I would embrace that but it could be tough sell for Turner to return to the same general manager who booted him prior, and trying to sign him at 36 in defensive decline and wanting 4 year deal.

    I think we should try to sign JBJ even though it adds yet another lefty to the outfield. That one signing could change the trajectory of the season, and even going into spring training because he’s a proven player who can contribute solidly on both sides of the ball and bases.

    Albert Almora was once a top prospect who at only 26, has upside and this signing could turn into lightening in a bottle if the Mets find the key to unleashing his untapped offensive potential. In the little I’ve seen on video, I see a swing that doesn’t make adequate use of his hips and core to explode into the ball. But Almora as is, doesn’t do anything to elevate the team on paper.

    So right now we need 3 additional upgrades – CF, starting pitching, and third base. JBJ, Justin Turner, and proven starter, let’s say Rich Hiill.

    One move he could try is signing Marwin Gonzalez.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      What Alderson did with the Wilpons was nothing short of a miracle.

      He’s also not done this offseason. I’ll judge his offseason as a whole when it’s over.

  4. LongTimeFan1 says:

    I agree the offseason isn’t over yet, but Alderson hasn’t done much differently under Cohen.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      He added over $60 million in salary already

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