MIAMI — The Marlins on Friday acquired reigning American League batting champion and All-Star infielder Luis Arraez from the Twins for right-hander Pablo López and two prospects, infielder Jose Salas (No. 5 on the Marlins’ system) and outfielder Byron Chourio .
Under team control until 2025, the 25-year-old Arraez has a .314 average in 389 career games. In 1922, he posted a career-high 50 walks to lead the Twins while slamming just 43 times, making him the only major league player to have slammed less than 50 times in at least 500 plate appearances.
Obtain Marlin: INF Luis Arraez
receive twins: RHP Pablo López, INF José Salas (Prospectus No. 5 of Marlins), OF Byron Chourio
Arraez is the first player since Rod Carew (1978-79) – who was also traded from the Twins (to the Angels) – to be treated after winning an off-season batting title, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
With the addition of Arraez, Miami gains both impressive offensive power and much-needed infield depth. Although listed as a second baseman, Arraez played more games at first base (60) than at second base (31) or as a designated hitter (34) in 2022. But the Marlins want Arraez back for second. In addition, they have a big step in the works: Jazz Chisholm Jr. slips into midfield.
“Jazz is very open-minded,” general manager Kim Ng told reporters via Zoom. “[He] sounded enthusiastic. … Jazz is a very unique athlete. Very dynamic. He has great range, great speed. He has a lot of the things you look for when you think of midfield.
“We talked for a while about [but] We were never necessarily forced to think meaningfully about it until probably this off-season.”
The Marlins had received inquiries about López since midseason, and rightly so. López, who turns 27 in March and is under team control until 2024, has a 3.94 ERA in five seasons (94 starts) with the Marlins. Last year, López combined with ace Sandy Alcantara for a powerful one-two at the top of Miami’s rotation and made a career-high 32 starts.
The twins’ interest has increased over the past two weeks, and that turned into serious talks on Tuesday. It helped that the Marlins made the signing of veteran starter Johnny Cueto official Thursday. With Alcantara and Cueto leading the rotation, along with Jesús Luzardo (100 1/3 innings in 2022), Trevor Rogers (133), Edward Cabrera (71 2/3) and Braxton Garrett (88), Miami has an excess of starting pitching Not to mention the current and past prospects who are about to return.
“Pitching is our strength and that is our foundation,” Ng said. “I think that was a very good baseball trade for both clubs. … This offseason definitely felt a bit like “The Little Engine That Could.” It was a slow build up. But we are finally in a better place.”
Also included in the deal is Salas, who is expected to reach the majors by 2024. He boasts increased speed, solid arm strength and hitting well from both sides of the plate. One of the Marlins’ international talents, 17-year-old Chourio signed in January 2022 and played in the Dominican Summer League last season.
Edwards, who is ranked No. 16 in Miami according to the MLB pipeline, is expected to make the big leagues this season, while Amaya — a shortstop — is ranked at No. 12 and likely to be in the majors for the Marlins at some point in this one season after making his debut in 2022.
With Arraez in the crease, the Marlins are building an infield — and lineup — to match their initial pitching depth. Are you done with movements?
“We’re always trying to improve,” Ng said. “You always have to listen. Offseason is offseason – there are still a few weeks left before we move on to spring training. So I think we’ll always be looking for the next deal.”