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Mets reportedly sign utility player Jonathan Villar

Throughout the past decade, the Mets have often invested relatively little in their bench, leaving them exposed to injuries and other maladies.

Not so this year. Days after agreeing to terms with veteran outfielder Albert Almora Jr., the Mets struck a similar Major League agreement with utility man Jonathan Villar, according to a source. The Mets have not confirmed the contract, which is worth $3.55 million plus incentives.

When it becomes official, the deal will give the Mets needed depth behind their starters at second base, third base, shortstop, left and center field. Villar has played all those positions throughout his eight-year career, serving mostly as a middle infielder but providing versatility elsewhere.

He is best known for the havoc he can create on the basepaths, stealing an MLB-best 62 bags in 2016 and another 40 in ’19. That will make him a valuable pinch-runner for Mets manager Luis Rojas.

Villar endured a down year in 2020, batting .232/.301/.292 in 52 games, splitting his time between the Marlins and Blue Jays. But the switch-hitter posted a .792 OPS in 2019, thanks to a career-high 24 homers, to go along with his 40 steals. From 2016-19, Villar produced four consecutive seasons of 10-plus home runs and 20-plus stolen bases. He and Trea Turner were the only two players to do so over that stretch. Only seven active players have more than Villar’s 218 career steals.