Are the Miami Marlins actually trying to put together an improved team? Based on their actions Monday, that appears to be the case.
The Marlins made some additions on Monday. They acquired second baseman Jonathan Villar in a trade with Baltimore and Jesus Aguilar via waivers.
Welcome to Miami pic.twitter.com/278pUGSGmN
— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) December 3, 2019
The Orioles had placed Villar on waivers because they did not want to pay him an elevated salary in the final year of his arbitration. Miami dealt pitcher Easton Lucas to get him. Villar batted .274 with 24 home runs and 40 stolen bases last season for the O’s. He made $10.4 million and is set to earn even more in 2020.
The Marlins claimed Aguilar off waivers from the Rays. Aguilar batted .274 with 35 home runs in 2018, but fell off last season and hit just .236 with 12 home runs in stints with Milwaukee and Tampa Bay.
Miami went 57-105 last season, which was the worst record in the NL by 12 wins.
The Tampa Bay Rays have been looking for a right-handed bat in advance of Wednesday’s trade deadline, and they have found one with some pop.
According to multiple reports, the Rays have acquired first baseman Jesus Aguilar in a trade with the Brewers. The Rays are sending right-hander pitcher Jacob Faria to Milwaukee in the deal.
First baseman Jesus Aguilar has been traded from the Milwaukee Brewers to the Tampa Bay Rays, sources tell ESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 31, 2019
Right-hander Jacob Faria is headed back to the Milwaukee Brewers in the Jesus Aguilar deal, a source tells ESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 31, 2019
Aguilar is hitting just .225 with eight home runs and 34 RBI in what has been a down year for him, but the 29-year-old was an All-Star last season. He posted career highs across the board in 2018 with 35 homers, 108 RBI and an OPS of .891. Aguilar is hitting .298 in the month of July, so he could be finally starting to come out of his prolonged slump.
The deal falls under the low risk/high reward category for the Rays, who are 7.5 games back of the New York Yankees in the AL East and just a half-game back in the wild card.
The Tampa Bay Rays’ hunt for a bat is not limited to non-contenders.
According to Marc Feinsand of MLB.com, the Rays have shown interest in Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar, who is surging after a slow start to the season.
Sources tell me and @juanctoribio that the Rays have expressed interest to the Brewers in Jesus Aguilar. He’s performed better in July (1.080 OPS) than the first three months (.634 OPS), so deal would have to help Milwaukee now for Brewers to move Aguilar.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) July 24, 2019
The Rays would have to get creative, with Milwaukee very much in playoff contention. The Brewers are only a half game out of the second wild card spot and two games out in the NL Central, and they’ll be expecting to make the playoffs.
Aguilar erupted onto the scene with 35 home runs in 2018. He only has eight in 2019, despite the uptick in batting average.
The Rays are clearly seeking a bat, as they’ve asked around for another All-Star position player in recent weeks.
No one would blame Jesus Aguilar if he wanted to hold a grudge against Manny Machado for the rest of his MLB career, but the Milwaukee Brewers first baseman says he has moved on from the dirty play Machado committed during the playoffs last year.
When Machado was with the Los Angeles Dodgers last season, he intentionally dragged his left leg along the first base bag on a routine groundout during the NLCS so he could clip Aguilar’s leg on the way by. It was a bush league play by anyone’s definition.
Come on Machado, don't do this. pic.twitter.com/xyx37Zncip
— Pitcher List (@PitcherList) October 17, 2018
Aguilar and Machado met again on Monday night when the San Diego Padres hosted the Brewers, and Aguilar was asked if there is any lingering bad blood between the two. Aguilar said Machado has apologized and they have “moved forward.”
Speaking of Machado, he is back on good terms with Jesus Aguilar after last year's NLCS stunt.
"I've seen him a couple times," Aguilar said. "We’ve got the same agent. Everything is all right. He did apologize. He knows he was wrong, he apologized for it and we moved forward."
— Todd Rosiak (@Todd_Rosiak) June 18, 2019
That wasn’t the only dirty play Machado committed during the postseason last year, and those antics have contributed to him having a bad reputation across the league. Even if Aguilar has forgiven him, there are still plenty of people who don’t think very highly of Machado.
Milwaukee Brewers slugger Jesus Aguilar is feeling confident about his team’s chances in Game 163.
The Brewers topped the Detroit Tigers in the final game of the regular season on Sunday to force an NL Central tiebreaker game with the Chicago Cubs. In a postgame interview after the win, Aguilar talked some smack to Milwaukee’s division rivals. Here is what he said, per Adam McCalvy of MLB.com:
In the FS Wisconsin postgame, Jesus Aguilar said this of Monday's tiebreaker against the Cubs: "They know they've got problems tomorrow." https://t.co/1UFxRHHMiG
— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) October 1, 2018
Monday’s decisive game, which the Cubs are hosting, will see the winner earn the division crown and the loser go to the NL Wild Card game. The two teams finished with identical 95-67 records this year, but the Cubs won the season series against the Brewers 11-8.
As for the All-Star Aguilar, who hit 35 homers and 108 RBIs in 2018, his dig is just the latest shot fired between these two teams in the last month.
Jesus Aguilar is not worried about the Home Run Derby potentially derailing his breakout season.
The Milwaukee Brewers slugger, who will be participating in next week’s competition at Nationals Park, told reporters on Friday that he does not believe in the theory that the Derby messes up a player’s swing for the rest of the year, per Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
#Brewers Jesus Aguilar will have coach Carlos Subero pitch to him in All-Star HR Derby. "He throws batting practice to me every day," Aguilar said. Aguilar said he does not believe in theory that HR Derby messes up a player's swing for rest of season.
— Tom (@Haudricourt) July 13, 2018
The 28-year-old Aguilar has been one of the stories of the year so far, coming out of obscurity in his fifth MLB season to lead the National League in both home runs (24) and OPS (1.019). As a result, he was selected for his first career All-Star team and his first career Home Run Derby appearance.
The idea that competing the Derby negatively impacts a player’s swing has become a rather popular one — many have pointed to the second-half slumps that players often experience after participating in it. However, Aguilar now joins this notable former player in dismissing the notion as a bunch of hooey.