The Braves face off against Oakland in the bay this week, and obviously, the big story is going to be the return of Michael Soroka. However, the A’s have made a roster move of their own, designating First Baseman and Designated Hitter Jesús Aguilar for assignment.
The Braves and A’s clearly have a lot of recent history. The Braves acquired two of their best hitters in Matt Olson and Sean Murphy from Oakland, and A’s fan favorite Chad Pinder was playing for AAA Gwinnett before retiring this weekend. However, Aguilar makes a lot of sense for the Braves; so should they look to continue the A’s pipeline by claiming him off waivers?
The A’s clearly aren’t looking to win ballgames right now. At 10-25, they only had a payroll of $57 million, and Aguilar was taking up $3 million of that. There’s a case to be made that Aguilar was let go for actually contributing to winning ball games. The Braves could use some help on there bench, and I’ve advocated to put the Venezuelan slugger in that role before for a few reasons.
First, he seems to love the guys on the roster. When he was at first base for the Brewers or Marlins, he was always joking around with Ronald Acuña Jr., Ozzie Albies, and others. He clearly has a connection to these guys and would fit right in the clubhouse.
Second, he’s absolutely mashing lefties. The Braves have gotten mixed results from their bench, and Aguilar could also be an interesting late inning substitute for Matt Olson, who is only sporting a .625 OPS against lefties in 2023. I’m by no means suggesting a platoon, but Aguilar could serve in a much bigger role than Charlie Culberson off the bench. He could even be a solid DH against lefties, even though Marcell Ozuna has been heating up lately:
Jesús Aguilar v. LHP (2023): .280/.362/.520/.882, 4 Home Runs
I don’t think Aguilar is going to completely shift the lineup, but he has been a contributor on good teams in the past. He hit 35 home runs for the Brewers in 2018. Even as recently has 2021, he clubbed 22 home runs for the Marlins. I think this move is pretty low-risk, and the reward could be great. He fills a need off of the bench and should be a good presence in the clubhouse, so I really don’t see the harm in adding him to the big-league roster to see what happens.
Photographer: Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire