After exposing him to waivers last week and signaling their intention not to bring back productive infielder Jonathan Villar in 2020, the Orioles dealt him Monday to the Miami Marlins for minor league left-hander Easton Lucas, just ahead of the deadline to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players.
Villar, who hit .274 with a .792 OPS last season in his only full year with the Orioles, was set to make an estimated $10.4 million through salary arbitration, according to MLBTradeRumors.com, and the Orioles spent the past week-plus trying to get value for him. They requested waivers on him last week, effectively offering him up to the rest of the league at that price, and ultimately consummated a deal with the Marlins before Monday’s 8 p.m. deadline.
Lucas, the return in the deal, was a 14th-round pick for the Marlins out of Pepperdine in the 2019 MLB draft. He pitched 34 1/4 u2154 innings over two short-season levels, primarily as a starting pitcher, and struck out 41 batters with a 1.10 WHIP and a 3.63 ERA between the Gulf Coast League Marlins and Short-A Batavia.
Lucas will join a crowded group of contenders to break camp with the Orioles’ Low-A affiliate in Delmarva.
After agreeing to a contract for 2020 with left-handed reliever Richard Bleier earlier Monday, the Orioles tended contracts to their five remaining arbitration-eligible players at the 8 p.m. deadline — outfielder Trey Mancini, right-hander Dylan Bundy, relievers Mychal Givens and Miguel Castro, and infielder Hanser Alberto.
The Orioles have until the Jan. 10 arbitration deadline to agree on a 2020 salary before going to an arbitration hearing in February.
This story will be updated.
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