MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports that the Orioles have placed 2B/SS Jonathan Villar on waivers. The club had been trying to trade Villar but came up unsuccessful. Now interested teams can claim him.
Villar, 28, is entering his third and final year of arbitration eligibility after earning $4.825 million in 2019. He is coming off of a strong season in which he played in all 162 games, spent significant time at two middle infield positions, and hit .274/.339/.453 with 24 home runs, 73 RBI, 111 runs scored, and 40 stolen bases across 714 plate appearances. Baseball Reference credited him with an even 4.0 Wins Above Replacement.
Villar is projected by MLB Trade Rumors to earn $10.4 million in arbitration, which is why the Orioles have placed him on waivers. The rebuilding Orioles have a projected 2020 payroll of $73 million with the current roster. They appear destined for a fourth consecutive fifth-place finish in the AL East now that they have jettisoned their best position player.
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.
The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.