From Alysson Footer, the Houston Astros Senior Director of Social Media, the Miami Marlins have apparently acquired former Tampa Bay Rays outfield prospect Justin Ruggiano from the Astros in return for minor league switch-hitting catcher Jobduan Morales (H/T MLB Daily Dish).
The idea behind this move is clearly obvious for the Marlins. With the team down outfielders Emilio Bonifacio and Austin Kearns, the club is desperate for outfield depth. The club has already promoted Bryan Petersen and Chris Coghlan, and right now they are sharing duties in center and left field. Today, the club was forced to run minor league infielder Donovan Solano in left field for lack of better options. The team's demotion of Gaby Sanchez has further limited their outfield options, because the Marlins appear to not want to shift Logan Morrison back into the outfield while Sanchez works on his swing in the minors. Therefore, an acquisition for a minor league veteran like Ruggiano seems more than reasonable.Ruggiano was a long-time prospect name in the Rays organization before he got older and never really developed. He is a career .296/.378/.490 hitter in the minors, but that spans nine seasons in the minors, which tells you the status of Ruggiano's career. He spent a very short amount of time in the majors, hitting .226/.262/.359 over parts of three seasons.
Not knowing much about Ruggiano, I asked some knowledgeable Rays fans for assistance, and I got none other than friend of Fish Stripes and former lead blogger at DRaysBay R.J. Anderson to tell me a little about Ruggiano.
All of this more or less matches his scouting reports and his minor league numbers. Ruggiano swings, can hit the ball pretty hard, but does not sound like he has a good approach at the plate and has a tendency to strike out plenty. In his minor league career, Ruggiano has struck out 25 percent of the time, and in his brief time in the majors, that number is up 28 percent. He is a decent enough defender that the Marlins could use him in the same manner as Kearns, where he could bat in the lineup and play a decent corner outfield against lefty starters.
The Marlins sent off Jobduan Morales, who was drafted in the ninth round in 2009 by the Fish, has hit .272/.371/.383 for his career in the minors. He will be 21 years old in June and was slowly moving up the farm system; his 2012 stint was in Single-A Greensboro in the Sally League. He hit pretty well in repeating the Rookie League with the Gulf Coast Marlins, but having to repeat Rookie League already tells you about his problems. Still, he was hitting well before being traded, but I doubt he would have ever developed into much of anything, so this is not much of a loss or a gain overall in this trade.