When the Milwaukee Brewers claimed Jesus Aguilar off waivers from the Cleveland Indians, they did not know what they were in for. So far they have gotten more than they have bargained for.
With the Indians coming off of a World Series appearance, they needed a first baseman when they decided not to re-sign Mike Napoli. Instead of going with in-house option Jesus Aguilar, Cleveland decided to sign Edwin Encarnacion to a three-year, $60 million contract.
It is understandable that the Indians would want a proven power bat that can deliver 30-40 home runs and 90-100 RBIs. Currently, Encarnacion is batting .263/.376/.482 with 17 home runs, and 42 RBIs in 76 games. Those are solid numbers for this point in the season, but the Indians might expect more production given his price tag.
In Aguilar”s limited time in Majors before coming to Milwaukee. He hit .172/.234/.190 with zero home runs and five RBIs in 35 games. It was an easy decision for Cleveland to go with Encarnacion.
The Milwaukee version of Aguilar is batting .295/.360/.555 with seven home runs, and 25 RBIs in 72 games. Aguilar’s salary for this season is $536,000 and he is under control until 2023.
What enticed the Milwaukee Brewers to make the claim was Aguilar’s impressive Minor League track record. He lead the Minors with 30 home runs in 2016. Overall he has hit 140 home runs at the Minor League level in total.
That bears the question where does Aguilar belong for the long term? Limited to playing first base, there does not seem to be much playing time with the Milwaukee Brewers, or is there? Eric Thames is starting to press at the plate. He has been out of the lineup for the last two games to give him a breather.
If Aguilar can sustain this success throughout the entire season, there has to be a discussion as to whether he is a long-term answer at first base. A platoon situation could even develop between Aguilar and Thames to help boost the offense.
In the end, Cleveland may kick themselves when the season is all said and done. They may have passed on a first baseman capable of producing 25 home runs at the Major League level.