First baseman Jesus Aguilar has been traded from the Milwaukee Brewers to the Tampa Bay Rays, sources tell ESPN.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 31, 2019
The immediate impact of this deal is that this season continues to be a frustrating one for Nate Lowe owners. Jesus Aguilar has been absolutely abysmal in 2019, with a .694 OPS on the season, so there’s a chance they use him in primarily a bench role, but Aguilar still had an .890 OPS with 35 home runs a season ago. I imagine we see relatively equal playing time at DH/1B between Aguilar, Lowe, and Ji Man-Choi. Aguilar has been better in July, posting a .298/.346/.574 in the month, but that’s been in very limited playing time. There’s a chance this just affects Choi, and we just see Lowe at first everyday with Aguilar DH-ing, but with the way Travis d’Arnaud has been hitting, he is also going to factor into the first base mix.
Eric Thames gets clearer playing time from this move. He’s been quietly good in 2019, posting a .869 OPS in 288 plate appearances. He’s pretty much been playing everyday against righties, but his role is more solidified with this move. Travis Shaw may also be a benefactor from this trade. Shaw has been awful in 2019, but showed signs of turning around in Triple-A. Since being called back up he’s 0-for-7 with two strikeouts, but there’s still upside with Shaw.
Jake Faria moves from the Rays to the Brewers and could get a chance in their rotation down the stretch. Faria broke out in 2017 with a 3.43 ERA in 16 games (14 starts) and 84 strikeouts in 86 2⁄3 innings, but struggled with both performance and injury in 2018 and has been in Triple-A for most of 2019. There’s still mid-rotation upside for Faria, but his control has consistently regressed throughout his time in the minors and his stuff isn’t good enough to make up for his 3.9 BB/9 he had in Triple-A this season. At this point he’s somebody that once he’s stretched out he has streamer against good matchups upside, but until he shows better control that’s close to his ceiling.
Overall, this deal marks an uptick in value for Eric Thames and slightly for Travis Shaw. A slight downgrade for Nate Lowe, and a bigger one for Ji-Man Choi with the precaution that I wouldn’t be dropping him because I don’t know how Kevin Cash is going to deploy their lineup. An upgrade for Faria, but not significantly. Most of all it’s an upgrade for Aguilar, but not enough of one where I’m adding him in standard mixers.