Former top Cubs’ prospect, INF Christian Villanueva signs minor league contract with Padres
According to a report from Baseball America’s Matt Eddy, INF Christian Villanueva has signed a minor league deal with the San Diego Padres. The Cubs non-tendered Villanueva on Dec. 2 and he elected free agency.
Out of minor league options, Villanueva reported to Spring Training last February focused on making the team out of camp. Villanueva broke his right leg during infield practice on one of the backfields and missed the entire season.
The Cubs acquired Villanueva in the deal with the Rangers on July 31, 2012 that sent RHP Ryan Dempster to Texas for RHP Kyle Hendricks.
Christian Villanueva turned 25 in June and played for Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa during the 2015 season. Villanueva batted a combined .257/.314/.438 with 23 doubles, two triples and 20 home runs for a .752 OPS. Villanueva was promoted to Triple-A when the Cubs called up Kris Bryant to the majors.
In 123 games for Iowa in 2015, Villanueva hit .259/.313/.437 with 23 doubles, two triples and 18 home runs for a .751 OPS.
Villanueva’s best season came in 2013 with Double-A Tennessee. In his first full season in the Cubs’ system, he had a lot of success in the Southern League. Villanueva hit .261/.317/.469 with 41 doubles, two triples and 19 home runs for a .787 OPS.
Christian Villanueva was considered the best fielding third baseman in the Cubs’ system for a couple of seasons. The Cubs started moving him around in order to create opportunities for him in the majors. Villanueva will have a better chance of making it to the majors with the Padres than he would have with the Cubs.