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Marlins claim Jesús Aguilar

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Literally and figuratively one of the biggest bats available, Aguilar was a 2018 NL All-Star selection with the Brewers.

Miami Marlins v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

The Marlins landed a big bat on Monday, claiming Jesús Aguilar off waivers from the Rays (as first reported by ESPN’s Jeff Passan).

Aguilar has spent the vast majority of his professional career in the Indians organization, but broke through in a big way for the Brewers in 2017. The heavy-set Venezuelan slugger slashed .261/.339/.492 with 59 home runs during parts of three seasons there, then was dealt to Tampa Bay last July. Aguilar, 29, consistently grades out poorly defensively and as a baserunner, so the Fish are attracted solely to his potential impact at the plate and in the clubhouse.

Matt Swartz of MLB Trade Rumors projects Aguilar to earn approximately $2.5 million in arbitration for the 2020 season. As currently assembled, that’d make him the second-most expensive position player on the Marlins (trailing only Miguel Rojas). But it is still an efficient deal if he were to match his career 111 wRC+—100 is league average—and avoid significant injuries.

Aguilar is out of minor league options and would be arbitration eligible again in 2021 if something goes awry with top first-base prospect Lewin Díaz.

This acquisition puts Garrett Cooper, and even more so, Austin Dean, in an awkward spot. Both are right-handed bats, so that doesn’t allow for a basic platoon with Aguilar (also right-handed). They have the ability to shift to the outfield corners, but with elite talents like Monte Harrison and Jesús Sánchez on pace for 2020 MLB call-ups, their early-season performance would really be under the microscope...assuming both are still with the Fish come Opening Day.