There is a lot happening with the New York Mets, as the excitement is starting to build for the 2021 season. Here are some news and notes from the team:
he New York Mets announced that the team has signed infielder Jonathan Villar to a one-year contract. In a corresponding move, RHP Brad Brach has been designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster.
Villar, 29, ranks fourth in the majors with 218 stolen bases since 2013. He led the major leagues with a career-high 62 steals in 2016 with the Milwaukee Brewers and has accumulated 35-or-more stolen bases in a season three times (2016, 2018 and 2019). Villar and Dee Strange-Gordon are the only active players who have stolen at least 60 bases in one season. From 2016-2019, Villar produced four consecutive seasons of 10-or-more home runs and at least 20 stolen bases. He and Trea Turner were the only two players to do so over that stretch.
The 6-foot, 233-pound infielder appeared in all 162 games with the Baltimore Orioles in 2019 and set career-best marks with 111 runs scored, 176 hits, five triples, 24 home runs and 73 RBI. He spent the first half of the 2020 season with the Miami Marlins before being traded to the Toronto Blue Jays at the trade deadline. In 52 total games, he slashed .232/.301/.292 with five doubles, two homers, 15 RBI and 16 stolen bases.
The La Vega, Dominican Republic native is one of just two active players, along with his fellow countryman Starlin Castro, who has started at least 300 games at both shortstop and second base since his rookie season in 2013. He has also seen action at third base (54 games), center field (10 games) and left field (five games).
The switch-hitting Villar was originally signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008 before being dealt to the Houston Astros in a swap for RHP Roy Oswalt in 2010. He debuted with the team in 2013 and has played eight major league seasons with Houston (2013-2015), Milwaukee (2016-2018), Baltimore (2018-2019), Miami (2020) and Toronto (2020).
In addition they have acquired outfielder Khalil Lee from Kansas City in a three-team trade. The Mets will send RHP Josh Winckowski and a player-to-be-named-later to the Boston Red Sox. To make room on the 40-man roster, catcher Ali Sánchez has been designated for assignment.
Lee, 22, was ranked Kansas City’s eighth-best prospect in 2020 according to MLB.com. In 2019, he slashed .264/.363/.372 with 53 stolen bases, the third-most in the minor leagues with Northwest Arkansas (AA). The 5-10, 170-pounder was Kansas City’s organizational Player of the Year and was a Texas League All-Star. He led the league with 65 walks, scored 74 runs, collected 21 doubles, eight homers and had 51 RBI in 129 games in 2019.
Lee, the 103rd-overall pick in the 2016 First Year Player Draft, has slashed .256/.366/.409 with 72 doubles, 19 triples, 37 homers, 192 RBI and 97 stolen bases in 399 career minor league games.
Lee was Virginia’s Gatorade High School Player of the Year Award recipient as a senior after hitting .471 with six homers.
Winckowski, 22, was acquired by the Mets in the January 27 trade that sent LHP Steven Matz to the Blue Jays.
The home and road games have been scheduled along with the times for all the games that will be played at Citi Field. The schedule for the team starts on the road with the Mets taking on former World Series Champions the Washington Nationals on April 1. The Mets will open up the 2021 season at home against the Miami Marlins, which is set for April 8.
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