The Miami Marlins sat in the bottom half of the league in slugging percentage after the end of July, and the team’s front office addressed that just before the Trade Deadline. On Deadline Day, the Marlins added some punch with the additions of third baseman Jake Burger and first baseman Josh Bell. Here’s a closer look at the two newest Marlins.
A Look at Bell and Burger
We’ll start with Josh Bell, a switch-hitting first baseman who had a turbulent 2023 season prior to the deal and didn’t produce at the level that was expected of him when the Guardians signed him in free agency.
A 2022 NL Silver Slugger that put up impressive numbers in the first half last season with the Nationals, the 30-year-old Bell hit just .233/.318/.383 with 11 home runs and 30 extra base hits over 97 games (393 PA) with Cleveland this season.
His power numbers are down and he’s struck more than usual, but he still hits the ball hard when he make contact. However, his Contact% numbers have dipped, and he’s chased more than in the past. Nonetheless, his raw power and ability to get on base still makes him valuable.
Additionally, the Marlins upgraded at third base with Jake Burger. A former first-round pick of the White Sox, Burger had a lengthy road to the Majors that included two ruptured Achilles tendon injuries. The 27-year-old Burger saw his first extended time as a Major Leaguer in 2023, and proceeded to hit 25 home runs and 41 extra base hits across 88 games for the Sox.
Burger’s plus power is evident, but he’ll often hack out of the zone and miss. Like Bell, Burger posted below-average Contact% numbers this season.
Now, the two power hitters are set to join a lineup that includes Jorge Soler, Jazz Chisholm Jr., and Luis Arraez. Miami entered August 1 with the fourth-best team batting average (.264), but 21st in slugging (.399).
The Marlins gave up highly-rated AA left-hander Jake Eder for Burger, and Jean Segura and Kahlil Watson for Bell. Segura had a very rough season in Miami, in which he hit .219 with a .556 OPS over 85 games. Watson, a former first-round pick, has shown flashes but only hit .234/.331/.412 in the Marlins organization.
What it Means for the Marlins
The Marlins have a better-looking lineup on paper after these moves. Miami needed offense heading into the deadline, particularly help on the left side of the infield. The Marlins front office addressed that and then some with the pickups of Burger and Bell.
Burger should be able to provide significantly more pop than Segura. Bell, meanwhile, will look for a fresh start back in the NL East, where he flourished a year ago with the Nationals.