A Kim Ng Masterclass: Josh Bell and Jake Burger Fitting in Swimmingly

Right before the trade deadline expired, the Marlins swung a pair of trades that now has their lineup in position to make a real run in 2023.

CINCINNATI, OHIO - AUGUST 09: Jake Burger (L) #36 and Josh Bell #9 of the Miami Marlins celebrate after beating the Cincinnati Reds 5-4 at Great American Ball Park on August 09, 2023 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

The Marlins trade deadline was a wild one, to say the least.

They kicked off their moves by acquiring David Robertson and Javier Lopez to sure up the back-end of their bullpen. Then, when the deadline approached and it seemed like they were content with their roster, Kim Ng swung two trades that are looking to be huge wins for the Fish and providing their lineup with just what they were missing.

First off, Jake Burger wasn’t a name you heard mentioned at any point around the deadline when the re-tooling White Sox were discussing possible moves of players off of their Major League roster.

Prior to being acquired by the Marlins, Burger was slashing .214/.279/.527 but was providing thump in the White Sox lineup with 15 doubles and 25 home runs in his first full season in the big leagues.

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While the power was something notably missing from the Marlins lineup, their approach in acquiring someone like Burger, who was striking out over 30% of the time, went against their typical philosophy of finding guys who get on base.

Little did we know, it is exactly what Kim was looking for.

“With 25 home runs two-thirds into the season, with as many baserunners as we get on, we thought it was an opportunity for him to get some RBIs” said Kim after the Burger acquisition.

After Jorge Soler, the Marlins were missing a middle-of-the-order thumper to help drive in the guys at the top of the lineup. Jake Burger has filled the void perfectly thus far. At the time, the Jake Eder swap was one that some Marlins fans were weary of, and White Sox fans were applauding loudly, but it seems as if the Marlins have come out on top here, securing their third base position for years to come.

Josh Bell was another head-scratcher of a move at the time.

After acquiring their new third baseman, the Marlins flipped Jean Segura and minor league prospect Kahlil Watson to the Guardians for Josh Bell. After Cleveland made the move to acquire Kyle Manzardo from the Rays for Aaron Civale, the writing was on the wall for Bell to be on the move if they were to find a team willing to take on the remaining amount of money on his contract, plus the player option Bell has heading into next season.

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Since coming over to Miami, Bell’s batting average is 77 points higher than what he averaged with the Guardians and his OPS is 338 points above his mark in Cleveland as well.

The combination deployed at first base of Garrett Cooper and Yuli Gurriel was passable, but it was leaving so much to be desired. So much so that the Marlins then moved Cooper to San Diego for left-handed pitcher Ryan Weathers.

Just like the move to bring in Burger, Josh Bell has provided the Marlins lineup with the power it needed to catapult them toward a potential playoff berth. However, unlike Burger, Bell’s profile at the plate with being much more disciplined in knowing the strike zone was packed in his bags when he moved to Miami.

The acquisition of Bell and Burger took some time to translate into wins for a Marlins club fighting for a Wild Card spot in the National League.

After the trade, the Marlins went on to lose five games in a row and were on the outside looking in of the Wild Card race. Now, they find themselves having won four of five and coming off back-to-back series wins against the Reds and Yankees. We are seeing the whole thing come together and having the Fighting Fish continue to show that they truly are competitors and are not a ball club to take lightly as we head toward the postseason.