The trade deadline brings reinforcements
The Rays made a big move with the Marlins right before Wednesday’s 4 p.m. ET Trade Deadline, moving Ryne Stanek and No. 4 prospect Jesus Sanchez in exchange for pitchers Trevor Richards and Nick Anderson. Anderson is a right-handed reliever who will fit into the Rays’ bullpen.
Richards, 26, is 7-21 with a 4.46 ERA (238.1-IP, 118-ER) over 48 appearances (45 starts) in two seasons with the Marlins. His first 45 outings in the majors came as a starter, but since July 26 has made three scoreless appearances out of the bullpen. This season, he is 3-12 with a 4.50 ERA (112-IP, 56-ER) in 23 appearances (20 starts) and leads the NL in losses. Richards was undrafted out of college and pitched two seasons for the Gateway Grizzlies in the independent Frontier League before signing with the Marlins in July 2016. He went 17-16 with a 2.44 ERA (239.2-IP, 65-ER) in 44 appearances (40 starts) over three minor league seasons.
Anderson, 29, went 2-4 with a 3.92 ERA (43.2-IP, 19-ER) and 69 strikeouts (14.22 SO/9 IP ratio) in 45 appearances with the Marlins, his first major league season. His 69 strikeouts are tied for eighth among major league relievers and tied for fourth among National League relievers behind Milwaukee’s Josh Hader (96), St. Louis’ Giovanny Gallegos (72) and San Diego’s Kirby Yates (72). In addition, he ranks second among NL rookies in appearances behind Arizona’s Yoan López (48). In 24 appearances since May 27, he is 1-2 with a 2.38 ERA (22.2-IP, 6-ER) to lower his season ERA from 5.57 to 3.92.
Leading up to the Trade Deadline, the Rays were actively looking to add a right-handed hitter to their lineup, and Milwaukee’s Jesus Aguilar was right at the top of the list. On Wednesday, the Rays got their man as Tampa Bay acquired Aguilar, 29, from the Brewers in exchange for right-hander Jake Faria.
“A right-handed hitter that can contribute as a first baseman or in the DH spot that can bolster our lineup against left-handed pitching was a desire,” Rays general manager Erik Neander said. “Jesus Aguilar is a power right-handed-hitting first baseman that had a down first half of the season, I don’t think there’s a way around that, but he has shown some life here recently.”
The Rays spent the last week looking into the possibility of adding Aguilar, but a week ago, Milwaukee’s asking price was believed to be too high for the first baseman. As the 4 p.m. ET Deadline neared, the Brewers lowered their asking price, and that’s when the Rays pounced.
After hitting 35 home runs in a breakout 2018 season, Aguilar has struggled in ’19, slashing .225/.320/.374 with eight home runs. His 80 OPS+ is significantly lower than his 111 career average. While his power is down this season, Aguilar has also been a victim of some bad luck.