4. Jonathan Villar, Infielder
More than a decade ago, the Phillies traded left-hander J.A. Happ and two prospects to the Houston Astros in exchange for Roy Oswalt. One of the two prospects was an outfielder who has since turned into a reliever. The other was infielder Jonathan Villar.
Villar had not turned even 20 years old at the time of the deal and has since become a nine-year big-league veteran. He’s played for six teams, including the Houston Astros (2013-15), Milwaukee Brewers (2016-18), Baltimore Orioles (2018-19), Miami Marlins (2020), Toronto Blue Jays (2020), and New York Mets (2021).
Villar’s best seasons to date were 2016 with the Brewers and 2019 with the Orioles. During the former, he hit .285 while swiping an impressive 62 stolen bases. During the latter, Villar hit a career-high 24 home runs and 73 RBI while playing all 162 games. Villar slugged 18 home runs and 42 RBI spanning 142 games this past season for the division-rival Mets. Having played second base, shortstop, third base, and even some outfield in his career, Villar would have been a nice, versatile player to have at the Phillies’ disposal in the past decade.
5. J.P. Crawford, Infielder
Combined between the 2017 and 2018 seasons, J.P. Crawford hit just .214 in 72 games while donning Phillies red pinstripes. After the 2018 season, the team was desperate to get out of first baseman Carlos Santana’s contract — ultimately deciding to trade their former top-hitting prospect to the Seattle Mariners.
One of the three players the Phillies received in return for Crawford and Santana is still on the team — second baseman Jean Segura.
Crawford has improved in every season since, hitting .226 in 2019, .255 in 2020, and .273 in 2021 with the Mariners. In 2020, the California native earned Gold Glove honors — committing just three errors spanning 454 2/3 innings and 221 chances at shortstop.
Considering the Phillies received less-than-ideal production from Didi Gregorius at shortstop last season, not having Crawford crept into the back of many’s minds. Luckily, rising prospect Bryson Stott seems to be a possible long-term solution at the position, and will likely get a chance to earn a starting role come spring training.