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Aguilar trade could give Tampa Bay Rays the boost they desperately need

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The Tampa Bay Rays have traded for slugging first baseman Jesus Aguilar from the Milwaukee Brewers, per Jeff Passan.

The Brewers receive pitcher Jacob Faria, as Tampa Bay continue to deal with a 40-man roster crunch. Faria had an excellent rookie year starting in the Majors in 2017, but struggled in 2018. His 5.40 ERA in 17 MLB appearances in 2018 has seen him used out of the bullpen in 2019. His strikeout rate has bounced back to its 2017 best of over 23% since becoming a reliever – as is so often the case, Faria’s stuff has leapt to a new level too. His fastball has gone from 91.5 mph in 2018 up to 94 mph this year, and he’s getting a lot more whiffs on his splitter.

Aguilar, who was an All-Star last season and received MVP votes, had a very difficult start to the 2019 campaign. His July, though, gives reason for optimism, as the Venezuelan born first baseman has posted a .920 OPS.

The Rays have been in dire need of a middle of the order bat. While Aguilar brings uncertainty after a rough few months, he has the upside that can transform their line-up. Aguilar is a marked upgrade on Ji-Man Choi – the former Yankee has just a .703 OPS in July.

This trade is a simple need-for-need deal. The Brewers get Faria to bolster their bullpen around Josh Hader, and could give him a run as a starter. The Rays add their big power bat in Aguilar without having relinquish any of their prospects.


Tampa Bay have gone 26-28 since the start of June. They have, as a result, had to wave a division title goodbye and are fighting with the Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians – who just added Yasiel Puig and Franmil Reyes – and the Oakland Athletics for a wildcard berth. Aguilar is far from a guarantee, but if he can find anything like his 2018 form, he will be a massive boost for a Rays squad that desperately needs it.

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