Dodgers: Allowing Marlins to add Aguilar, Villar may prove costly

Over the last two days, the Miami Marlins added right-handed hitters Jesus Aguilar and Jonathan Villar, which means the Dodgers missed out.

That was probably a mistake. The Dodgers really could have used either of these formerly sought-after bats. As of the 2019 offseason, Aguilar was one of the biggest right-handed power hitters in the game. Two seasons ago, the big Milwaukee Brewers first baseman smacked 25 doubles, 35 home runs, and 108 RBI with a .274/.352/.539 triple-slash line. After a down year with both Milwaukee and the Tampa Bay Rays, Aguilar was waived before the Marlins claimed him.

Aguilar could have fit in nicely with the Dodgers as a replacement for David Freese, the team’s recently retired veteran leader and first baseman who could mash lefties. In 2019, Aguilar hit just .236 off of lefties (though he hit with the same average against righties), but in 2018, he mashed nine home runs and eight doubles with 20 walks to 34 strikeouts in 153 plate appearances against southpaws. That combination of average and power is something the Dodgers would be able to use, even if the only way to actualize it would involve having Aguilar battle for the backup first baseman’s role with Tyler White.

White and Matt Beaty both figure into the 2020 first base picture, along with Max Muncy and Justin Turner, but only White and Turner are right-handed, and none of the four (outside of Muncy of course) have 35-homer power.

While Aguilar is a clear fit in his own right, the Dodgers really could have used the speed, defensive versatility, and right-handed bat of Villar. The team has already been linked to players like Mookie Betts and Starling Marte, elite right-handed bats with power and speed. While Betts is in a class of his own, Marte is a 15-25 home run hitter with a .270-.290 AVG and 15-25 steals. Villar had 24 home runs in 2019 to go along with a .274 AVG and a whopping 40 steals.

He would provide the Dodgers with a leadoff hitter who has more speed than any LA leadoff hitter since Dee Gordon to go along with a more dynamic power/speed threat than the team has seen from the middle infield in the last decade. A 20-homer and 40-steal season from a player who can play second base, shortstop, and centerfield is not something you can find every day, and yet the Marlins were able to lock him down for a minimal prospect cost that did not set baseball twitter abuzz at all.

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If the Dodgers front office is really looking to make a splash and add a star shortstop or outfielder like Betts or Francisco Lindor, then passing on Villar may make sense, but his versatility and low monetary and prospect costs made him seem like a perfect fit for LA.