The Orioles have signed first baseman Jesus Aguilar to a minor league contract, MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko reports (Twitter link). Aguilar, who was released by the Marlins after being designated for assignment, has been added to Baltimore’s taxi squad for the time being. With rosters set to expand from 26 to 28 players tomorrow, he could potentially be selected to the Major League roster in short order.
It’s been a poor season for the 32-year-old Aguilar, who batted just .236/.286/.388 through 456 trips to the plate with Miami prior to being designated for assignment. The Fish reportedly explored the trade market to find takers prior to the deadline but did not find much of a market. At the time, Aguilar was in the midst of a weeks-long slump, and he failed to right the ship in his final weeks as a Marlin. Since the All-Star break, he’s turned in a disastrous .188/.246/.347 slash line.
Poor as his 2022 season has been, there’s plenty of track record with Aguilar, a 2018 All-Star who swatted 35 home runs with the Brewers that season. That year represents a clear peak in Aguilar’s career, but he’s been an above-average hitter with Miami in each of the 2020 and 2021 seasons. From 2018-21, Aguilar touted a .262/.339/.471 batting line with 77 home runs and 70 doubles in 1661 plate appearances. The righty-swinging slugger also has a negligible platoon split in his career, so when he’s at his best, he’s a potential everyday option at either first base or designated hitter.
Aguilar could give the O’s some thump off the bench at a time when much of the lineup has been struggling to produce, and if he hits the ground running, there ought to be increased playing time available to him. Rougned Odor, Ryan Mountcastle, Jorge Mateo and Kyle Stowers, in particular, have had rough showings across the past couple weeks, while bench options like Robinson Chirinos, Ryan McKenna and Tyler Nevin have provided next to no offense in that time. Based on Aguilar’s own struggles, he shouldn’t be expected to come in and play the role of savior for an O’s team that’s still improbably jockeying for Wild Card position, but there’s little harm in taking what amounts to a free look at this juncture of the season.
Aguilar had been playing on a $7.5MM guarantee in Miami this year, but now that he’s been released and signed a new contract, the O’s will only owe him the prorated league minimum for any time spent on the MLB roster. The rest of Aguilar’s salary, plus the buyout on a now-moot 2023 mutual option, will all come out of the Marlins’ pockets.