MIAMI — The Miami Marlins acquired infielder Jake Burger from the Chicago White Sox and first baseman Josh Bell from the Cleveland Guardians at Tuesday’s trade deadline as the team bolsters its lineup for a playoff push.
Miami sent pitching prospect Jake Eder to Chicago in exchange for Burger and dealt infielder Jean Segura and infield prospect Kahlil Watson to Cleveland for Bell. Segura will be released by the Guardians.
The Marlins (57-50) entered Tuesday tied with Arizona and Milwaukee for the final National League wild-card spot. The club could use an offensive jolt as it tries to make its first postseason berth in a full season since winning the World Series in 2003. The Marlins reached the postseason during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season and lost to the Braves in the NL Division Series.
Burger, 27, is tied for eighth in the majors with 25 home runs this season. He’s hitting a home run per every 11.76 at bats, the second-best mark in the AL behind Shohei Ohtani (10.10).
The Marlins gave up a top pitching prospect in Eder, who was their No. 4 ranked pitching prospect, according to MLB.com. But Miami needed to add a power bat to a lineup ranked third to last in home runs and bottom five in runs scored.
Cleveland, which entered Tuesday just one game behind first-place Minnesota in the AL Central, made three trades in the past week. The Guardians sent shortstop Amed Rosario to the Dodgers for pitcher Noah Syndergaard, dealt starter Aaron Civale to the Rays for first-base prospect Kyle Manzardo and then shipped Bell to the Marlins.
Cleveland’s acquisition of 23-year-old first-base prospect Manzardo on Monday made Bell expendable. While Manzardo might not be major league ready for another season or two, the Guardians believe he can either DH or fill in at times for starting first baseman Josh Naylor.
Desperate to find a power hitter, the Guardians signed Bell to a two-year contract in December. However, the signing didn’t deliver big results as Bell struggled at the plate for much of the first half of the season.
Bell batted just .233 with 11 homers and 48 RBIs.
Bell’s departure followed the Guardians releasing catcher Mike Zunino, also signed this winter to bolster Cleveland’s lineup. But Zunino didn’t hit, was a defensive liability and was let go in June after batting .177 in 42 games.
“It didn’t work out,” said Chris Antonetti, the team’s president of baseball operations. “You make those investments and hope they work out and have productive seasons. In Mike’s case, it didn’t happen and I think it was impacted by his continued recovery from (shoulder) surgery.
“Josh did have moments where he contributed and he certainly helped provide leadership and stability in the clubhouse and maybe didn’t deliver the way we hoped or expected at the time we signed him. That’s part of the risk when you venture into free agency and contracts don’t work out the way you hope. But in this case I think we were able to bring back a player in Kahlil that we think has an exciting future in front of him.”
Watson was a first-round pick in 2021 but is hitting .206 in 58 games at High-A this season.
Antonetti said the teams reached an agreement just before the deadline and due to a communications glitch had to finalize terms after the 6 p.m. cutoff.
Segura signed a two-year deal with the Marlins in January after going to the World Series with Philadelphia in 2022 but struggled at the plate. He is batting a career-low .219 this season with a .277 on-base percentage.