Shortly before they would have elected to not offer him a contract, the Orioles traded infielder Jonathan Villar to the Miami Marlins for left-handed pitcher Easton Lucas on Monday night.
The Orioles had tried to trade Villar earlier and, failing to find a partner, placed him on outright waivers late last week. Once he passed through waivers on Monday afternoon, the Orioles tried to trade Villar again and were successful. Had they not traded him or offered the arbitration-eligible player a contract, Villar would have become a free agent.
Villar’s departure leaves a gaping hole in the middle of the infield. He batted .274 with a .792 OPS and had career highs with 24 home runs, 73 RBIs and 111 runs scored. He also stole 40 bases and became the fifth Oriole to hit for the cycle. He played in all 162 games in 2019, splitting time between second and shortstop.
Lucas, who’s 23, was the Marlins’ 14th-round draft choice from Pepperdine last June and was 1-2 with a 3.63 ERA and 1.096 WHIP in 13 games with the Marlins’ Gulf Coast League team and Short Season Batavia. He struck out 41 and walked nine in 34 2/3 innings.
The Orioles have 38 players on their 40-man roster after offering contracts to the other six arbitration-eligible players before Monday’s 8 p.m. deadline.
Earlier Monday, the Orioles agreed on a 2020 contract with left-handed pitcher Richard Bleier for $915,000, according to MLB.com.
Later, they offered contracts to infielder Hanser Alberto, pitchers Dylan Bundy, Miguel Castro and Mychal Givens and rightfielder/first baseman Trey Mancini.