The Los Angeles Angels are reportedly in agreement with utility infielder Jonathan Villar to join the team for the remainder of the 2022 season. Villar was designated for assignment after 46 games with the Chicago Cubs primarily playing first and second base.
A career journeyman, the Angels represent Villar’s eighth team in 10 MLB seasons. His best years were between 2016 and 2019 with the Milwaukee Brewers and Baltimore Orioles. Since 2020, he has struggled at the plate, batting just .240 with a .677 OPS in 240 combined games with the Cubs, Miami Marlins, Toronto Blue Jays, and New York Mets.
However, his defense and his bat could still provide a boost to the Angels, who have dealt with a disappointing production level from the non-Jared Walsh players in the infield.
After injuries to Anthony Rendon and David Fletcher, the grouping of Tyler Wade, Andrew Velazquez, Luis Rengifo, and Matt Duffy have struggled to keep the Angels lineup competitive beyond the top half. No one among this group owns a wRC+ higher than 92, meaning all have been below average at the plate in 2022.
Villar has a wRC+ of 65, which would not signal improvement among the current group. However, this figure was 105 over a full season with the Mets in 2021, meaning he’s not far removed from above average production at the plate.
He is also a career steal threat. He’s had double digit steals in every season in which he’s played at least 55 games, and has stolen over 20 bases four times. He’s currently on pace for just under 20 steals in 2022.
The Halos are entering an important stretch of play with one month to go until the trade deadline. They are currently five games back of the Cleveland Guardians for the final Wild Card spot with the Chicago White Sox, Texas Rangers, and Tampa Bay Rays between them.
If Villar can help them make a push over this span, they may be more comfortable taking a swing at the deadline, adding an impact pitcher or another infield bat to get them through the 2022 season and beyond.
Perry Minasian open to all options to improve roster
Angels general manager Perry Minasian was not shy when discussing what the Angels can do to improve their recent fortunes. In reference to the trade deadline, Minasian said the team is always looking to improve and that those additions may come from outside.
The Angels have not been predominantly featured in rumors since the beginning of the season, but Minasian said those talks will pick up as Aug. 2 approaches.