Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Marlins Give Up On Former Top Prospect, Add Solid Defender With Offensive Potential

The Miami Marlins have gotten off to a tough start this season, and it seems the organization is looking to slightly shake things up. On Tuesday, Miami announced the acquisition of third baseman Emmanuel Rivera from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for cash considerations. To open a spot on the 40-man roster, the Marlins designated Jacob Amaya, currently ranked by MLB Pipeline as the team’s ninth-best prospect, for assignment.

Miami currently sits at 0-5 with offensive production that ranks among the worst in the majors. While Rivera has struggled in limited time in the majors, the Marlins will hope that his strong minor league track record will finally translate to the show. If so, he could provide a boost to a lineup that sorely needs it.

Marlins Acquire Emmanuel Rivera, Designate Jacob Amaya

Emmanuel Rivera

While he’s seen time at first base in his career, Rivera will likely play his natural position of third base with the Marlins. He represents a clear defensive upgrade over the incumbent option, Jake Burger. Rivera has nine Defensive Runs Saved at the hot corner for his career, while Burger has -11.

However, Rivera is not the established offensive player that Burger is. In his three-year career, the 27-year-old has hit .247/.304/.380 with 17 homers in 740 plate appearances. This production measures to an OPS+ of 89, or 11 percent below the league average.

Despite his struggles, Rivera comes with consistently solid minor league production and intriguing underlying metrics in the majors. In 2,150 minor league at-bats, Rivera posted a .764 OPS with 54 homers. In his major league career, the Puerto Rico native often produces a solid Average Exit Velocity with good Hard-Hit and Strikeout rates.

Players with these profiles are candidates to break out with more playing time, better luck, and/or minor adjustments. As a team desperate for offense and as possible non-contenders, the Marlins can offer Rivera playing time and an opportunity to break out that the Diamondbacks couldn’t.

Whether he hits or not, Rivera will upgrade the Marlins’ run prevention by shifting Burger to DH. Miami represents a team without a big margin for error. With a lack of star players, the Marlins must play solid defense to elevate a depleted pitching staff and questionable offense. Rivera can serve as a piece of the defensive unit that should elevate other aspects of the club. Executing this type of complementary baseball can make the difference between contending for a Wild Card spot and being a bad team.

Jacob Amaya

Amaya has a reputation for being a great defensive shortstop. However, many questioned the offensive potential of the former Los Angeles Dodgers top prospect, and it seems he is proving them right.

In 128 Triple-A games last season, Amaya hit .252/.345/.407 with 15 homers. His production earned him a promotion to the majors, though he made just nine plate appearances and recorded two hits. While Miami’s signing of Tim Anderson didn’t necessarily destine Amaya to the minors, an awful spring training performance killed any chance of him starting in the majors.

Despite his offensive struggles and reputation, it is a little surprising to see Miami give up on Amaya. While new front office leader Peter Bendix didn’t acquire him, Amaya still represents decent depth at a premier position. Plus, Miami should look to stockpile as many talented players with decent upside as possible.

Nevertheless, Miami will have seven days to trade Amaya or pass him through waivers. Another team will likely take a chance on Amaya due to his prospect pedigree, good defense, and minor league option remaining.

At the very least, his defense should allow him to serve as a solid backup shortstop on a contending team. Perhaps ideally for Amaya, a non-contending team could offer him extended playing time and a chance to break out offensively.


Photo Credit: © Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports


More Posts

Send Us A Message