The Milwaukee Brewers have announced another trade today, though this one is slightly different than yesterday's K-Rod deal. The Brewers have announced they acquired shortstop Jonathan Villar from the Houston Astros in exchange for minor league right handed pitcher Cy Sneed.
The #Brewers have acquired INF Jonathan Villar from Houston in exchange for RHP Cy Sneed.— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) November 19, 2015
Villar will turn 25 next season and began his career in the Phillies system after being signed as in international free agent in 2008. He was sent to Houston in 2010 as a part of the package for Roy Oswalt. Villar was a touted prospect coming up through the minor leagues, ranking in Baseball America's top 100 prospects prior to the 2011 season. He made his major league debut in 2013, playing in 58 games for Houston and hitting .243/.321/.319 with one home run and 18 stolen bases.
Since then, Villar has been up and down between the major leagues and AAA. In total, he's managed a .236/.300/.353 career batting line with 10 home runs in 198 games (658 plate appearances). He doesn't offer much power and strikes out a lot (27.7% in his career), though he also walked at an above-average 8.1% clip and has stolen 42 bases. He has limited big league experience at second base, third base, and in the outfield in addition to playing the majority of his games at shortstop, though he hasn't graded out particularly well defensively there during his career (-6 DRS, -19.3 UZR in 1344 innings at short).
The #Astros gave Jonathan Villar every chance to succeed. He is very versatile, but his teammates will tell you he is a knucklehead.— Jose de Jesus Ortiz (@OrtizKicks) November 19, 2015
Villar had apparently fallen out of favor in Houston, and he'd fallen behind rookie sensation Carlos Correa on the shortstop depth chart. It's worth noting that GM David Stearns, of course, came to the Brewers from Houston and should be quite familiar with Villar. He won't be eligible for arbitration until at least 2018 and cannot become a free agent until 2021, though he is out of minor league options. Stearns reportedly told Tom Haudricourt that the plan is for Villar to be on the major league roster next season.
Cy Sneed was drafted by the Brewers in 3rd round of the 2014 draft. The 23 year old righty split that past season between the low-A Timber Rattlers and high-A Manatees and posting a combined 2.58 ERA in 139.1 innings pitched with 122 strikeouts and just 28 walks. His excellent results and peripherals (4.36 K:BB ratio, 2.55 FIP) had put him on the radar of some fans of the Brewers farm system despite the fact that he did not rank among the club's top 30 prospects. More than likely, his ceiling is probably an organizational depth arm or potential back end starter, at best. He does own a great mustache, though.
We hardly knew ye, Cy Sneed's mustache. pic.twitter.com/prpYB9N11R— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) November 19, 2015
At first glance, this trade didn't make a ton of sense to me. If there is any position that the Brewers are strong at, it's shortstop. However, this deal probably furthers the likelihood of a Jean Segura trade at some point this winter. Segura, who is arb-eligible for the first time this winter, has been a popular trade rumor candidate dating back to before last season's trade deadline. Stearns said yesterday that the club would probably make moves that would impact the major league roster, and it appears the Brewers may have found their starting shortstop for next season.
With this trade completed, the Brewers 40 man roster now stands at 35 players. That leaves five open slots for the club to protect eligible players from the Rule 5 draft before tomorrow's deadline.