Jonathan Villar was supposed to be a one-year bench player but became so much more
Jonathan Villar is going to finish this season with some of the highest number of plate appearances, games played, and home runs for the Mets. He’s going to finish second on the roster in home runs by a good margin, falling short to only slugger Pete Alonso.
Although frustrating at times with his absentmindedness while on base, it is a bit of a trade-off to get his aggressiveness. Villar isn’t the super-speedy player he was early on in his career. Still quick, he remains a stolen base threat and a guy we can count on to go for the extra base.
What has made Villar especially important to have this year is his ability to play second base, third base, and even shortstop. In his limited time as the club’s shortstop during Francisco Lindor’s absence, he even managed to put favorable defensive statistics.
Nobody should do their best glovework at shortstop. This is unusual. But what about Villar’s year has been usual?
As Rising Apple’s Mason Smoller profiled last month, the chance to bring Villar back for another year is slim for a variety of reasons. More so than any, I believe Villar has played himself into a possible starting role. Until this year, he was an everyday player. Everything accomplished in New York during the 2021 season should help him reclaim his rightful spot as a starter with a multi-year deal worth a nice chunk of change.
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I’ll also give an honorable mention to Marcus Stroman. Although not signed to a one-year contract like these two via free agency, he did accept the qualifying offer which does last just a single season. So in a way, the Mets were 3 for 3 with these one-year deals.