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Cubs welcome back a familiar face as team moves on from Jonathan Villar

2 months agoTony Andracki

David Bote is back in the big leagues while the Cubs opted to move on from Jonathan Villar Friday evening, designating the veteran infielder for assignment.

In March, the Cubs signed Villar to a 1-year deal worth $6 million guaranteed (with a mutual option for 2023).

The 31-year-old was brought in over the offseason as infield depth, as he has extensive experience at second base, shortstop and third base in his career. He is also a switch-hitter who provided David Ross with different matchup options.

Villar was a valuable member of the Mets infield last season (.738 OPS) but never had the same impact with the Cubs. He appeared in 46 games and hit .222 with a .598 OPS and -0.6 WAR. He also struggled in the field with 8 errors (including 3 in his last 4 games).

A freak injury cost Villar several weeks on the IL in late May and early June and with Bote fully recovered from offseason shoulder surgery, the Cubs opted to move on from Villar.

Bote, 29, separated his shoulder last season in two different instances — first in May and then again in September.

Bote has a career .227/.318/.388 slash line (.706 OPS). He led the Cubs in RBI (29) during the shortened season in 2020 but hit .199 with a .606 OPS in 2021 while contending with injuries.

He can work in at second base with Andrelton Simmons until Nick Madrigal returns from a groin injury. Bote also provides depth at third base behind Patrick Wisdom while Simmons can back up Nico Hoerner at shortstop.

Villar was initially slated to start Friday night’s game in St. Louis but after the roster move, Bote was inserted at second base and in the 7th spot in the Cubs batting order.

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