Well how about that. After his release from the Chicago Cubs, which itself followed a wildly disappointing start to the season where Jonathan Villar looked more or less unplayable, Villar has found a new team almost immediately.
And more importantly as far as the Cubs are concerned, it is reportedly a big league deal.
Villar’s full contract with the Cubs is his, and he’s going to get that full $6 million one way or another. But with the Angels signing him to a Major League contract, they are now on the hook for the prorated portion of the Major League minimum, or about $400,000 the rest of the way. That is offset from what the Cubs owe Villar, so they now save $400,000.
NOW THE CUBS CAN DEFINITELY AFFORD CARLOS CORREA AFTER THE SEASON!
I kid, but hey. That is $400,000 that goes back into the baseball budget, so it’s not nothing. Like I said: “modest” Cubs impact here. We take what we can get in a season like this, especially on signings that go so poorly …
*previous update and original post follows*
As expected, following the resolution of his designation for assignment, Jonathan Villar has been released by the Chicago Cubs.
Villar can now head into free agency to try to find a new gig for the rest of the season. It seems likely he will have to sign a minor league deal and get a little lucky in finding a big league opportunity from there. To the extent he does play in the big leagues this year, the amount the Cubs still owe Villar will be reduced by the pro-rated big league minimum. So, you know, if you want to see the Cubs save a couple hundred grand, start rooting for Villar to find a job!
*original post follows*
After a long and briefly-interrupted rehab following shoulder surgery, David Bote is finally back with the big league team. In what originally looked like a situation where the Cubs might have too many options to afford him meaningful playing time (or even a roster spot necessarily), the Cubs are now probably pretty desperate to get Bote back.
So desperate, in fact, that the Cubs are finally letting Jonathan Villar go after a disastrous two and a half months with the team. Villar, who has disappointed wildly at the plate and in the field, has been designated for assignment. The Cubs will have seven days to trade, waive, or release Villar. I anticipate he will ultimately be released.
That opens the 40-man spot and the 26-man spot for Bote. Since Villar was originally in the starting lineup, we’ll see how the Cubs adjust for tonight. I wonder if Bote will be in there if he can get to the ballpark on time?
Villar, 31, signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the Cubs before the season, and it almost immediately became a sunk cost. He hit .222/.271/.327/66 wRC+ over 166 plate appearances, and was statistically among the worst defenders in baseball. Simply put, Villar was a completely different player than the guy who he’d been for most of his previous seasons. The Cubs were right to move on – even in a lost season, the playing time needs to go elsewhere – and perhaps he reboots somewhere else.
As for Bote, he will try to work his way back into the utility mix after an extended absence, and several seasons of not-quite-getting-there. The defense, at least, should be a substantial upgrade over what Villar has shown. What happens whenever Nick Madrigal returns remains to be seen, though it could wind up a one-to-one swap with Andrelton Simmons. I’m not sure the Cubs are going to give up on Bote any time soon (he’s 29 and under team control for several more years).