The Miami Marlins were dealing again at the MLB Winter Meetings in Orlando Thursday. A day after sending 1B/OF Logan Morrison to the Seattle Mariners, the Marlins announced they traded reserve outfielder Justin Ruggiano to the Chicago Cubs for outfielder Brian Bogusevic.
Bogusevic, a 29-year-old lefty and former first-round pick of the Houston Astros, has played in parts of four MLB seasons. In 2013, he hit .273 with 6 home runs and 7 doubles in 47 games for Chicago. That was a sharp improvement from 2012, when he hit .203 in 146 games for Houston.
Miami acquired Ruggiano in a 2012 trade with the Houston Astros. He was one of Miami's best hitters in 2012, batting .313 and slugging .535.
But he took a step back in 2013, losing his starting job when Miami called up rookie outfielders Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick in July. In two seasons with the team he hit .258 with 31 home runs and 86 RBI in 219 games.
Though Ruggiano was due for a raise because of his arbitration-eligible status, this deal is more about two teams swapping outfielders who were struggling to live up to expectations in a hope that a change of scenery would be good for both of them.
Miami is set at outfield with Yelich, Marisnick, and Giancarlo Stanton for the considerable future barring a trade. Acquiring Bogusevic allows the team to reduce salary expenses and hopefully bolster its bench at the same time.
The Marlins are reportedly still hunting for a third baseman, but have now made a series of moves that should provide a more respectable lineup around its young outfielders and well-regarded pitching staff.
Last week the team signed catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and infielder Rafael Furcal to short-term deals, adding 1B Garrett Jones this week at the Winter Meetings.
"Going into the offseason, we got together as an organization and talked about ways that we could better improve our team and our lineup," Marlins manager Mike Redmond told MLB.com Wednesday. "Saltalamacchia was the first step, and then bringing in Furcal and now Garrett Jones has definitely given us more offense, more weapons, and extended our lineup."