Jonathan Villar had a good year in 2019. He was second on the Orioles in WAR with 4.0, was really the team’s only effective base-stealer with 40 stolen bases, and hit 24 home runs and 33 doubles. In late November, Baltimore placed 28-year-old middle infielder on outright waivers right before the arbitration deadline. Everyone knew why.
The Orioles, who are still at the part of the rebuild in which good players are worth more to them on other teams, didn’t want to pay the 28-year-old middle infielder the money he would have been owed after the arbitration, which was projected to be over $10 million. They eventually managed to trade him to the Marlins in exchange for a minor league pitcher not listed among Miami’s top prospects.
Instantly becoming the best player on the 105-loss Marlins is quite the penance for a man who played 162 games for the 108-loss Orioles in 2019. Villar, who enters his final arbitration-eligible season in 2020, will have to once more make the best of a non-contending situation. Meanwhile, as their former best player lands in Miami, the Orioles and their remaining fans will stay behind in Baltimore, where the rain continues to fall.