After scavenging for coins between the couch cushions of their already-thin farm system, the Miami Marlins traded infielder Erick Lara and right-hander Andrew Lindsey to the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday for utility man Vidal Bruján and righty reliever Calvin Faucher. The Marlins also owe Tampa Bay cash considerations or a player to be named later to complete the deal.
It’s remarkably the sixth time in the last three years that the Florida teams have hooked up on a trade. The structure in this instance is similar to their previous deal (headlined by Xavier Edwards), with the Fish focused on major league-ready players and willing to part with raw, “lottery ticket” prospects.
None of the assets changing addresses are particularly valuable, but let’s get into more of the specifics.
Bruján had spent his entire professional career in the Rays organization. The Dominican switch-hitter emerged as a potentially special prospect in 2018. He was a consensus Top 100 talent entering the 2020 season and earned a 2021 Futures Game selection. His lifetime minor league slash line is .287/.370/.429 with a 126 wRC+ and 240 stolen bases, the fourth-highest total during that period.
Unfortunately, he’s been an utter failure at the major league level. Bruján has accrued -1.5 fWAR in only 272 MLB plate appearances, unable to even hit his own weight (.157 BA). The Rays got him reps at as many defensive positions as possible, but that still wasn’t enough to merit a spot on a contending team.
Turning 26 in February, Bruján has used up all of his minor league options. Peter Bendix acquired him with the intention of putting him on the Marlins Opening Day roster—the non-tendering of Garrett Hampson on Friday cleared the runway for him even more. He is currently playing in the Dominican Winter League for Estrellas Orientales where he’s leading the league with 12 steals and slashing .316/.418/.405.
The 28-year-old Faucher posted a 6.32 ERA, 4.98 FIP and 1.68 WHIP in 39 games (including four “opener”appearances) as a Ray. He possesses a mid-90s sinker, low-90s cutter and a sweeper and curveball that both get very high spin rates. He missed the final two-plus months of the season with biceps tendinitis. It’s pronounced “Foh-SHAY.”
Faucher still has one minor league option remaining.
Both of the outgoing players recently launched their professional careers. The 17-year-old Lara slashed .305/.416/.445 (133 wRC+) in the Dominican Summer League this season. Lindsey, who just turned 24, was Miami’s fifth-round pick in the latest MLB Draft. Neither of them were ranked in our end-of-season Fish On First Top 30, though Lara earned an honorable mention.
With the arrivals of Bruján and Faucher and the departures of Hampson and Jacob Stallings (also non-tendered), the Marlins 40-man roster is still at 37.
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