The Marlins announced the acquisition of a utility player Vidal Brujan and right-handed Calvin Faucher rays. Miami sends minor league infielder Eric Lararight-handed Andrew Lindsay and a player who would later be named to Tampa Bay. The Fish already had three openings on the 40-man roster, so no further moves were necessary.
Bruján is the biggest name in the deal. Although the switch-hitting utilityman hasn’t yet found much success in the major leagues, he was once a top prospect. The Dominican Republic native was annually among the top 10 prospects in a strong Rays system at Baseball America from 2019 to 2022. He ranked in the back half of BA’s top 100 minor league talents throughout of this race.
Praised for his speed, hitting skills and defensive flexibility, Bruján fits the overall profile favored by Tampa Bay. Despite excellent minor league production, he never had a very consistent run at the MLB level with the Rays. Bruján has struggled during his relatively brief spells at the top level over the past three seasons.
In 272 MLB plate appearances, the 25-year-old is a .157/.218/.221 hitter with three home runs. He was much better at Triple-A Durham, hitting .273/.357/.450 over parts of three seasons. That includes a .272/.362/.477 slash with 10 homers and 19 stolen bases (although caught stealing 14 times) over 59 games for the Bulls this year.
Bruján has exhausted his minor league option years, so he will have to remain on the MLB roster next season. A Tampa Bay team rich in on-field talent may not have been able to afford that opportunity, so it will clear a 40-man roster spot early in the offseason. Miami has a little less bench depth and doesn’t have a clear answer at shortstop, where Jon Berti projects as a starter. Although Bruján is unlikely to get an everyday job, he can play either middle infield or any outfield position, and has experience at third base.
Faucher, 28, had been designated for assignment on Tuesday. He is now traded for the second time in his career. The former Twins rookie went to the Rays at the 2021 deadline in Nelson Cruz/Joe Ryan to exchange. He debuted with Tampa Bay in 2022 and has appeared in 39 major league games (four starts) over the past two seasons.
The results have not been great. Faucher has a 6.32 ERA in 47 MLB innings. His 20.8% strikeout rate and 10% walk percentage are each a bit worse than average. The UC Irvine product throws in the mid-90s and has a cutter, sweeper and curveball in his off-speed repertoire. He owns an excellent 2.75 ERA in 72 Triple-A innings over three years, striking out 29.4% of batters faced at that level.
Faucher has one more year of option, so the Marlins can move him between Miami and Triple-A Jacksonville for another season. This is the second straight year the Fish have acquired a reliever and former top prospect from Tampa Bay. Last November, the camps aligned themselves with the Xavier Edwards/JT Chargois agreement. This was orchestrated by former Miami general manager Kim Ng. Peter Bendix, Miami’s first-year president of baseball operations, was working in the Rays’ front office for the trade. One of his first transactions as head of the Marlins involves bringing in two players he knows from their local rivals.
In return, Tampa Bay selects two prospects (and likely a third) who are nowhere near filling a 40-man roster spot — a common practice when recruiting future talent. Lara is a 17-year-old shortstop who recently moved from the Dominican Republic. Ben Badler of Baseball America wrote in May that he could stay at shortstop based on the size of his 6’2″ frame. He is a left-handed hitter.
Lindsey was a fifth-round pick last summer out of Tennessee. The 6’3″ pitcher pitched to a 2.90 ERA in 71 1/3 innings during his junior season for the Volunteers. He struck out nearly a quarter of opponents against a modest 6.4% walk rate. He turned 24 this week. BA wrote in his draft report that he was sitting in the mid-90s with a sinker and had a slider in the 80s as his best secondary pitch.
Daniel Álvarez-Montes of El Extrabase first reported that the Marlins were acquiring Bruján and Faucher.
Image courtesy of USA Today Sports.
Gn En sports