The Cubs continue their search for an additional bench bat, they missed out on Eric Sogard, who was traded to the Rays over the weekend for a couple PTBNLs. The Cubs did make an offer, apparently:
Cubs tried for Sogard, offering a player that interested the Jays. But apparently, Jays liked Rays offer better.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 28, 2019
Weird way to phrase that – is that being sourced from the Cubs, telling the world, hey, we’re willing to offer an “interesting” prospect for your utility infielders? Not that it’s a secret.
In any case, the Cubs now turn to the rest of the market, which apparently included the Orioles and middle infielder Jonathan Villar. Per MASN, “Infielder Jonathan Villar also is a possibility to be moved. The Orioles have talked to the Cubs about him, according to an industry source, but there doesn’t appear to be a match.”
That reads like the kind of thing the Orioles would put out so that the baseball world knows they are willing to move Villar – the Cubs are interested! – but they won’t do it for nothing.
Villar, 28, had a huge year in 2016 that, in hindsight, appears to have been a BABIP-fueled blip. Rather than a star or even a regular, he has settled into being a very good bench guy: able to play the middle infield, run the bases well, hit from both sides of the plate, and put up a .260/.320/.400-ish line, as he has the last couple years. Good player. Absolutely would want him on your bench. Not a guy you’re going to go over the top to acquire, however, as he makes nearly $5 million this year and then has another year of arbitration after this season (not sure you’d even want to tender him at $7+ million for 2020).
My guess? The Cubs asked the Orioles if they would accept a decent, lower-tier prospect in exchange for Villar and enough cash to cover the rest of his salary. The Orioles declined, and then pushed this out there to see if they could get a better offer.
Who knows – maybe by the time the deadline rolls around, the teams get back together. Villar would be a nice player to have on the bench for sure. Cubs could use the cover at shortstop if they elect not to bring back up Addison Russell, and/or trade him. Heck, maybe they offered him to the Orioles as a salary wash.