LAKE BUENA VISTA -- Before closing up shop at the Winter Meetings, the Marlins on Thursday traded Justin Ruggiano to the Chicago Cubs for a near-mirror image of the outfielder, Brian Bogusevic.
"Really, Bogusevic is a younger version of Ruggiano," said Michael Hill, the Marlins' president of baseball operations. "He can play all three outfield positions and will fill the role that we had identified for Ruggiano."
Which was as an extra outfielder to play behind the projected starting trio of Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna.
The two primary differences between Ruggiano and Bogusevic, Hill said, is that Bogusevic hits from the left side and doesn't cost as much. Ruggiano projected to make in the neighborhood of $1.8 million in his first year of salary arbitration while Bogusevic isn't eligible for arbitration until after next season. Hill acknowledged that money was a factor in the deal.
"Given the fact that we were going to go with the kids in the outfield as the everyday players, we didn't want to allocate the dollars that we had in that role in Ruggiano," Hill said. "We wanted to spend it elsewhere."
Bogusevic is also a "different type of player" in that he he is "more of a contact, more of a gap hitter," than Ruggiano, Hill said. "We wanted to get a more functional bat."
Bogusevic was originally drafted as a pitcher in the first round of the 2005 draft by the Houston Astros but eventually converted to the outfield.
"Defensively he's a solid, average outfielder -- if not the same as Ruggiano, maybe a tick better," Hill said.
Bogusevic owns a career average of .236 with 17 home runs in parts of four seasons with the Cubs and Astros. He stole 15 bases for the Astros in 2012 when he received considerable playing time. With the Cubs last season, Bogusevic hit .273 with six home runs in 155 at bats.