The Cubs have reportedly talked to the Orioles about middle infielder Jonathan Villar, but Roch Kubatko of MASN writes that “there doesn’t appear to be a match.” The switch-hitting Villar is making $4.825 million this season and has one more year of arbitration eligibility, so the O’s probably aren’t in any rush to move him. But he’s having a solid year at the plate and can play both second and short, so the value could be there for a team like the Cubs.
It’s never a bad thing to have a little pop (13 homers) and speed (22 steals) while providing more depth up the middle. That could be a factor for the Cubs now that Addison Russell has been optioned to Triple-A, though they maintain that the move is temporary and that Russell is still in their future plans. Which, what else are they supposed to say?
The trouble with Villar, with whom Cubs fans are familiar from his days in Milwaukee, is that his defense is pretty awful at both of his primary positions, so it’s not as though he would really offer the Cubs much in a bench role. They’ve already got a switch-hitting second baseman with tons of pop and a questionable glove in Robel Garcia, so a move for another player of that ilk doesn’t really make sense.
And while Villar could fill the speedster role the Cubs tend to like filling late in the season, his contractual control probably makes him a little too expensive to acquire for specialized deployment.