Angel Villalona has been somewhat of a problem for the Giants. A former top-level first-base prospect, as early as 2008, he has gone on a rocky road to where he is now.
According to CSN Bay Area writer Andrew Baggarly, Villalona's nameplate was taken off his locker and replaced with that of Juan Perez, with the possible explanation that he, once again, is having visa trouble.
In 2009, Villalona was arrested in the Dominican Republic as a suspect in the murder of a 25-year-old man. His visa was revoked and for the next two seasons, his career was in limbo. Although the victim's family reached a monetary settlement with Villalona's family, the case was still being investigated.
Villalona was finally freed on bond after his April 27th, 2010 court appearance, but he still was barred from entering the United States, again due to a revoked visa, which stemmed from the case.
It wasn't until 2011 that Villalona was fully cleared, but he still missed all of 2011 with visa problems.
Now it's 2012. Villalona is 22 years old. Not old, but also not young. He probably can still play, but what he may have to deal with is much worse.
Villalona has gone from being the Giants' top prospect to a possible afterthought. With Brandon Belt and Brett Pill both capable first basemen, and Villalona having not advanced past Single-A San Jose, he is at a possible crossroads. In order to stay with the team, should he consider a position change?
Should he also consider the possibility that his time in San Francisco is up?
Giants management should also start reconsidering with Villalona. Should they get rid of him? Should they keep him and have him convert to a new position?
If they get rid of him, should it be through release or trade?
While visa issues have been around since the beginning, the situation that Villalona is in is ridiculous. Even Orioles reliever and former manslaughter suspect Alfredo Simon didn't have to wait this long for his legal situation and visa problem to resolve itself. The same for Juan Carlos Oviedo and Roberto Heredia, née Leo Nunez and Fausto Carmona.
If Villalona's visa situation is that bad, maybe the Giants should just give up and let him go. Not all prospects make the big-league club, and for various reasons.
If Villalona does end up clearing up his situation and reports for spring training, he could possibly have a chance to catch up and maybe find an alternate role with the team, but if he can't and gets released, he'd better start looking at playing for a different team.
Josh Hamilton fixed himself up after years of drug and alcohol abuse, why can't Villalona find a fresh start as well?
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