MIAMI (AP)The Miami Marlins will seek to add further pop to their lineup this offseason after acquiring slugging first baseman Jesus Aguilar and the versatile Jonathan Villar, who will be used primarily at third base and in the outfield.
”We improved our offense, but we had a long way to go,” president of baseball operations Michael Hill said Tuesday. ”So we’re still exploring opportunities to improve our offense.”
The Marlins acquired Villar on Monday from the Baltimore Orioles for minor league left-hander Easton Lucas and claimed Aguilar off waivers after he was designated for assignment last week by the Tampa Bay Rays.
Adding bats was the primary goal at the start of the offseason after the Marlins finished last in the National League in runs and homers.
They also are shopping for bullpen help, including a closer. Starting pitching isn’t a priority because young arms are the organization’s strength.
”We believe in the starting pitching depth we currently have,” Hill said. ”We think this is championship-elite starting pitching. We’re definitely happy with the quality and quantity.”
Versatility should be a strong suit of the everyday lineup. Villar joins a roster that includes Brian Anderson, Garrett Cooper and Jon Berti, all of whom can play both the infield and outfield.
Villar has played 54 games at third and 13 in the outfield. He’s also an option at shortstop (385 games) and second base (333).
”He’s incredibly versatile and athletic,” Hill said.
Villar batted .274 with 33 doubles, 24 home runs, 73 RBIs and 40 stolen bases in 162 games for Baltimore in 2019.
Aguilar was an All-Star for Milwaukee in 2018, when he had 35 home runs. This year he had 12 homers and 50 RBIs for the Brewers and Rays.
In another move Monday, the Marlins designated hard-throwing reliever Tayron Guerrero for assignment. He gave up 36 walks in 46 innings this year and had an ERA of 6.26.
”For a number of our young relievers, they need to get better and throw more strikes,” Hill said. ”As we win more games and compete for championships, guys are going to have to command the strike zone. Guys given an opportunity have to take advantage. If they aren’t able to take advantage of that opportunity, we’ll find someone who is.”
The Marlins look to be more competitive next year after going 57-105 in 2019, their 10th consecutive losing season.
”Monday was just the first step in making additions to this club and putting ourselves in position to have a successful 2020 season,” Hill said.
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