The Marlins announced the acquisition of utility player Vidal Bruján and right-hander Calvin Faucher from the Rays. Miami is sending minor league infielder Erick Lara, right-hander Andrew Lindsey and a player to be named later 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. While the switch-hitting utilityman has yet to find much major league success, he was once a top prospect. The Dominican Republic native was a top 10 prospect in a strong Rays system at Baseball America each year from 2019-22. He ranked in the back half of BA’s top 100 overall minor league talents throughout that run.
Praised for his speed, bat-to-ball skills and defensive flexibility, Bruján fit the general profile that Tampa Bay prioritizes. Despite excellent minor league production, he never got much consistent run at the MLB level with the Rays. Bruján struggled when he did see relatively brief stints at the highest level in the last three seasons.
In 272 MLB plate appearances, the 25-year-old is a .157/.218/.221 hitter with three home runs. He has been far better at Triple-A Durham, hitting .273/.357/.450 over parts of three seasons. That includes a .272/.362/.477 slash with 10 home runs and 19 stolen bases (albeit with 14 times caught stealing) over 59 games for the Bulls this year.
Bruján has exhausted his minor league option years, so he’ll have to stick on the MLB roster next season. A Tampa Bay team deep in infield talent may not have been able to afford that opportunity, so they’ll clear a 40-man roster spot early in the offseason. Miami has a bit less bench depth and is without a clear answer at shortstop, where Jon Berti projects as the starter. While Bruján is unlikely to get an everyday job, he can play either middle infield position, any outfield spot, and has experience at third base.
Faucher, 28, had been designated for assignment on Tuesday. He’s now traded for the second time in his career. The former Twins draftee went to the Rays at the 2021 deadline in the Nelson Cruz/Joe Ryan swap. He debuted with Tampa Bay in 2022 and has pitched in 39 big league contests (four starts) over the past two seasons.
The results haven’t been great. Faucher owns a 6.32 ERA in 47 MLB innings. His 20.8% strikeout rate and 10% walk percentage are each a little worse than average. The UC Irvine product throws in the mid-90s and has a cutter, sweeper and curveball in his offspeed 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 still has one option year remaining, so the Marlins can move him between Miami and Triple-A Jacksonville for another season. It’s the second straight year in which the Fish acquired a reliever and a former top infield prospect from Tampa Bay. Last November, the sides lined up on the Xavier Edwards/JT Chargois deal. That was orchestrated by previous Miami general manager Kim Ng. Miami’s first-year president of baseball operations Peter Bendix was working in the Rays’ front office for that trade. One of his first transactions leading the Marlins is to bring in a pair of players with whom he’s familiar from their in-state rivals.
In return, Tampa Bay picks up a pair of prospects (and likely a third) who are nowhere near occupying 40-man roster spots — common practice as they churn the roster for future talent. Lara is a 17-year-old shortstop who recently signed out of the Dominican Republic. Baseball America’s Ben Badler wrote in May that he could stick at shortstop depending on his 6’2″ frame fills out. He’s a left-handed hitter.
Lindsey was a fifth-round pick this past summer out of Tennessee. The 6’3″ hurler 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 sits in the mid-90s with a sinker and has a high-80s slider as his top secondary pitch.
Daniel Álvarez-Montes of El Extrabase first reported the Marlins were acquiring Bruján and Faucher.
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