The Potential Role of Jonathan Villar With the New York Mets

Jonathan Villar

The New York Mets continued to add depth to their team as they signed Jonathan Villar to a one-year contract Tuesday, worth $3.55 million plus incentives according to Jon Heyman.

Role With Mets

Jonathan Villar will likely find himself as a back-up infielder, along with Luis Guillorme filling in for both Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil up the middle. He also will add speed to a team that has greatly needed a boost at that, especially with the loss of Amed Rosario and Jake Marisnick.

While he may find himself getting a start on rare occasions, Villar possesses the most speed on the bench. He will likely be joined by some combination of Brandon Drury, Jose Martinez, Guillorme, Albert Almora, Tomas Nido, and Jose Peraza. The Mets did sign Mallex Smith to give them a bit more speed.  The likelihood of Smith making the opening day roster now with the addition of  Almora and Martinez plus Villar’s speed and versatility is unlikely.

However, if there was ever a year to have too much depth, it would certainly be this year. COVID-19 continues to affect many athletes. New York is going to need to have players with MLB experience be able to fill in if COVID does affect the Mets.

Last season, the Mets tried to make a similar move prior to the start of the season and brought in Eduardo Nunez. Nunez was able to swipe a couple of bases early on. But he did suffer an injury that caused him to miss the rest of the regular season. Despite the Mets suffering injuries to their entire infield, Andres Gimenez, who was involved in the Lindor trade, and Guillorme filled the role as back-up infielders. 

The Mets are reportedly talking to Marwin Gonzalez, but with the signing of Villar, it probably shifts their focus elsewhere for the rest of the offseason. It would be likely that New York tries to add another starting pitcher and potentially another arm in the bullpen. 

Big League Career

Jonathan Villar was on the Miami Marlins and Toronto Blue Jays in 2020 and previously played for both the Houston Astros, Milwaukee Brewers, Baltimore Orioles. He is a lifetime .259 hitter but hit only .232 last year.

His biggest asset is his versatility and his speed. Villar can play all over the diamond and is a terrific base stealer. In 2016, he swiped 62 bases and has had at least 15 in each season since then. He was supposed to be the center fielder for the Marlins last season. However, after the COVID-19 outbreak, many of their plans changed.

The 29-year old is also a switch-hitter and can hit for some power. Villar has hit as many as 24 home runs in a season. He is a pretty steady hitter from both sides of the plate.

During his big year in 2016, Villar hit 13 home runs from the left side and eight from the right. From 2015-2019, he hit 70 home runs and was a mainstay at the top of the order.

Villar though does not play terrific defense at any one position. He has made errors 74 errors in 831 games in his career. But he could be someone that the Mets can count on late down a run.

Main Image:  Embed from Getty Images

Players mentioned: Jonathan Villar, Luis Guillorme,  Francisco Lindor, Jeff McNeil, Amed Rosario, Jake Marisnick, Brandon Drury, Jose Martinez, Albert Almora, Tomas Nido, Jose Peraza, Eduardo Nunez, Andres Gimenez, Marwin Gonzalez


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