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Mets designate Brad Brach for assignment, announce signing of Jonathan Villar

The move is something of a surprise.

Philadelphia Phillies v New York Mets Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The Mets have designated relief pitcher Brad Brach for assignment to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Jonathan Villar, whose signing the team officially announced this evening. The 34-year-old Brach, who was easy to root for since he grew up a Mets fan and remained one even while playing elsewhere in Major League Baseball, had a 5.84 ERA and 6.68 FIP in 12.1 innings for the Mets in the shortened 2020 season.

Brach originally joined the Mets on August 8, 2019, as the team was making a push for a playoff spot with a very good run late in the season. He had started that season with the Cubs and struggled, but in 14.2 innings for the Mets down the stretch, he had a solid 3.68 ERA. Going back several years before that, Brach had been rumored to be a Mets trade target.

Following the 2019 season, Brach signed a deal that was set to pay him $850,000 in 2020 and included a $1.25 million player option for 2021, which he picked up. Despite his struggles, it’s a bit surprising to see that Brach was designated for assignment before some other players on the Mets’ 40-man roster.

As for Villar, the 29-year-old had a down season in 2020, too, posting just a 66 wRC+ in 207 plate appearances. But he was very good in 2019 and is capable of playing several positions in the field, making his addition to the Mets’ roster a good one.