The Marlins and first baseman Jesús Aguilar have agreed on a $7.5MM deal to avoid arbitration, reports Mark Feinsand of MLB.com (on Twitter). That comes in the form of a $7.3MM salary for the upcoming season plus a $200K buyout on a new mutual option for the 2023 campaign. That buyout will increase to $250K if Aguilar, a client of MVP Sports Group, tallies at least 550 plate appearances this season.
Aguilar had filed at $7.75MM, while team had countered at $7MM. They’ll eventually come in a bit north of the midpoint of those figures to avoid an in-season hearing. It concludes the final trip through the arb process for Aguilar, as the 31-year-old is set to hit free agency at the end of the season.
The mutual option theoretically raises the possibility of him not hitting the open market, although it’s likely little more than an accounting measure. Mutual options are very rarely exercised by both sides, and the primary purpose is to push the team’s responsibility for the buyout to the end of the season as opposed to dispersing that money over the coming months in 2022 salary.
Aguilar has spent the past two seasons in South Florida. He’s served as Miami’s primary first baseman since being claimed off waivers from the Rays in December 2019. The right-handed hitter has been a solid but not elite hitter over that run, hitting .265/.336/.458 in a pitcher-friendly home ballpark. He’ll be part of what looks to be a solid crop of free agent first basemen next winter; Brandon Belt, José Abreu, Josh Bell, Yuli Gurriel and Trey Mancini are all set to hit the open market, while Anthony Rizzo will have the opportunity to opt-out of his deal with the Yankees.