Marlins release veteran Jesus Aguilar

MIAMI — The Miami Marlins released first baseman Jesus Aguilar on Friday after the club dropped its bid for a playoff spot.

Venezuelan Aguilar, 32, was the leader in the Marlins with 15 home runs and 49 produced, although his average reached just .236.

Miami lost 15 in 22 games in August and fell out of contention for a wild-card spot in the National League. Aguilar was out of the game for quite some time, replaced by Dominican rookie Lewin Diaz.

Garrett Cooper, who covered first base with Aguilar and was a designated hitter, was reactivated Friday from the disabled list.

“It wasn’t a surprise because Cooper and three players can’t hold the same position,” Aguilar said of his situation before the Marlins began a four-game home series against the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers. .

“I understand the decision and the business.”

Aguilar signed with the Marlins after the Tampa Bay Rays released him at the end of the 2019 season.

The Venezuelan was one of only five Marlins players not on the injured list during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, and he contributed to Miami’s first playoff appearance since the club won the World Series in 2003. .

Last season, Aguilar led the National League with 93 RBIs before being sidelined the last four weeks with a knee injury.

Aguilar expressed confidence in finding an opportunity with another team.

“We had discussed this with Jesus recently, giving him the opportunity to be part of a team that makes it to the postseason,” Marlins general manager Kim Ng said. “He has contributed a lot to this organization. These kinds of situations are never easy.”

Aguilar began his career in Cleveland and resurfaced after joining the Milwaukee Brewers in 2017. He posted career highs of 35 homers and 108 RBIs in 2018, when he was an All-Star.

The Rays acquired him in a midseason trade in 2019.

“I just want to thank them for the opportunity to have been a Marlin for a couple of years,” Aguilar said.

“Fortunately I can now go to a team looking for a place in the postseason.”

Aguilar had a .255 ERA with 108 home runs in his 11-year major league career.

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Marlins release veteran Jesus Aguilar