OAKLAND – In search of improving an offense that ranked last in several categories last year, the A’s added some thump on Tuesday by reaching an agreement with veteran slugger Jesús Aguilar on a one-year contract, the team announced on Friday. Aguilar's deal is worth $3 million, a source told MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand.
Aguilar, 32, was a consistent middle-of-the-order presence and strong run producer for the Marlins from 2020-21, hitting .265 with 30 home runs, 33 doubles and 127 RBIs in 182 games over that stretch. The first baseman took a step back last season, released by Miami in August before finishing the campaign with the Orioles. Between the two clubs, Aguilar combined to slash .235/.281/.379 with 16 homers, 19 doubles and 51 RBIs.
The spacious Oakland Coliseum does not exactly make for the ideal home ballpark for a hitter looking to rebound from a tough year, but a key factor in Aguilar’s decision could be the ample playing time that should be available. The A’s went through 12 different first basemen in 2022 without discovering a truly stabilizing option. Aguilar has provided solid defense at first base over his career, with four defensive runs saved and a 0.6 UZR over his career at the position, according to FanGraphs. He split his time nearly even at two spots last season, playing 63 games at first and 60 as the designated hitter, while also getting in four games at third base.
For a rebuilding A’s club, Aguilar could, at the very least, provide value as a reliable stopgap at first base until No. 1 prospect Tyler Soderstrom, whose quick ascension through the system saw him finish last season with Triple-A Las Vegas, receives his promotion to Oakland, which could come as early as this season. Seth Brown, Dermis Garcia and Ryan Noda are others expected to be in the mix at first base for the A’s.
Even a minimal bounce back from Aguilar should help an A’s offense that ranked last in MLB in OPS (.627), batting average (.216) and on-base percentage (.281) in 2022. Aguilar does bring a big-power pedigree with 109 homers over nine big league seasons. His best campaign came with the Brewers in 2018, when he made the National League All-Star team and participated in the Home Run Derby that summer at Nationals Park. Aguilar finished that season hitting .274 and set career highs in OPS (.890), home runs (35) doubles (25) and RBIs (108).