LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Marlins made a last-minute splash before exiting the Winter Meetings on Thursday morning.
As the Rule 5 Draft was winding down, Miami announced it had traded Justin Ruggiano to the Cubs for Brian Bogusevic. Basically, it is an exchange of similar outfielders.
Bogusevic, who is out of options but isn't arbitration-eligible, will have an inside edge to be a reserve outfielder. The 29-year-old, in many ways, is a left-handed-hitting version of Ruggiano.
A former first-round pick in 2005, Bogusevic batted .273 with six homers and 16 RBIs for the Cubs in 47 games last year.
"Bogusevic really is a younger version of Ruggiano, in terms of skill set," Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "He can play all three outfield positions. He can fill the role that we had identified with Ruggiano."
Bogusevic, 29, broke in with the Astros in 2010, and he was with the organization until moving on to the Cubs last year. In parts of four seasons, Bogusevic is a career .236 hitter with 17 home runs and 62 RBIs in 299 games.
Ruggiano, 31, joined the Marlins in 2012. He was second on the team in home runs last season with 18. In 128 games, Ruggiano batted .222 and he added 50 RBIs.
Minutes prior to the trade being announced, Ruggiano expressed his thanks to Marlins fans on his Twitter account.
"Miami fans, you have been amazing the last two years," Ruggiano said via Twitter. "There is a lot to be excited about in South Florida! Thank you for everything!"
Ruggiano is arbitration-eligible for the first time.
"Given the fact that we're 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."
Miami anticipates starting Christian Yelich in left field, Marcell Ozuna in center field and Giancarlo Stanton in right. If all were healthy, Ruggiano was expected to be the fourth outfielder.
Trading Ruggiano came a day after the Marlins reached an agreement on a trade that will send first baseman Logan Morrison to the Mariners for reliever Carter Capps.
That trade is expected to be officially announced in the next couple of days.