Just before MLB spring training games get underway, Miami Marlins hopeful Jesus Aguilar will grace Florida on a high note.
The first time arbitration-eligible star won his case against the Miami Marlins and will now be potentially rewarded with a $2.575 million salary. The Marlins initially offered Aguilar $2.325 before the hearing. Ultimately, that’s a difference of just $250K. That may small for MLB standards but is more than the average American makes in four years.
An Unusual Case
Although it comes as a win for Aguilar, his arbitration winning also strikes a rather unusual tone. His outcome is rather out of the recent norm where guys like Joc Pederson (Los Angeles Dodgers), Shane Greene (Atlanta Braves), Josh Hader (Milwaukee Brewers) and more have lost their arbitration cases. It’s rather odd that a player and a multi-million dollar team would battle over a quarter-million.
It also acts as quite unusual because even with the deal being finalized in Aguilar’s favor, there’s nothing guaranteed. At the base of it all, Aguilar is on a minor league deal which can be pulled out from under him. Any team with anybody in arbitration could be let go if anything wrong were to occur during spring training. Such an instance occurred last in the not so distant past for the Fish with Dan Straily.
Last season, Aguilar produced a slash line of .263/.325/.389 with just 12 home runs and 81 strikeouts. Between those 131 games played between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Milwaukee Brewers, Aguilar punched in 50 RBI.
It’s bold to see Aguilar fight for the money that may not come his way. After all, he won’t be the only one vying for a spot at first base this season. Former Los Angeles Dodgers star Matt Kemp, a player who has proven to be a liability in the outfield, is going to be looked at solely as a first baseman. That’s without mentioning having to battle it out with front runner Garrett Cooper who has played more first base for the Marlins than anyone else currently on the team.
Should he remain with the team, Aguilar’s salary would bump up the Marlins total payroll to $55.111 million. The Marlins have done various low-risk contracts and certainly, Aguilar is just that. The hope is that they can get the Aguilar of 2018 who blasted 35 home runs and drove in 108 runs. There seems to be a lot of confidence from Aguilar who dropped over 20 pounds heading into spring training and has improved his overall health tremendously. He still sits as the heaviest player on the team but one with perhaps the biggest potential. This spring training will be critical for Aguilar and his rise back to dominance.