4:08 p.m. ET
The Miami Marlins and Minnesota Twins held a long-rumored trade Friday that saw American League batting champion Luis Arraez go to Miami for right-hander Pablo Lopez and two prospects, it was announced.
The deal, variations on which teams have been debating for months, gives the Marlins a much-needed racquet to add to their winter signing of Jean Segura, who will play at third base.
However, the costs were significant. In addition to Lopez, a talented starter fitting in at the head of Minnesota’s rotation, the Marlins will send shortstop Jose Salas and outfielder Byron Chourio, two respected teenagers, to the Twins.
Arraez, 25, is a career .314 hitter with unparalleled hit-to-ball skill in the modern game. Last season, he made the All-Star team and ranked 13th in the AL MVP pick after hitting .316/.375/.420, hitting 88 runs and registering more walks (50) than strikeouts (43). . He won’t be a free agent until after the 2025 season.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, Arraez is the first player to win a batting championship and then be traded offseason since Rod Carew won the AL batting title with the Twins in 1978 and then was traded to the Angels ahead of the 1979 season.
Arraez joins a Marlins team with a strong rotation led by Cy Young National League winner Sandy Alcantara. However, the Miami line-up struggled last year as reigning second baseman Jazz Chisholm was injured while free-agent signers Avisail Garcia and Jorge Soler disappointed.
Marlins general manager Kim Ng said Chisholm, who has played exclusively in midfield throughout his big league career, will move to midfield to make room for Arraez as a full-time second baseman.
Arraez also has experience at first base – where he played more than any other position last year – or a corner court slot.
Minnesota, meanwhile, can field young hitter Jose Miranda at first base, or play him at third and field Alex Kirilloff first. Lopez joins a rotation with Sonny Gray, Joe Ryan and a grab bag of other possibilities, from Chris Paddack – who just signed a three-year extension – to Tyler Mahle, Bailey Ober, Josh Winder, Kenta Maeda and Randy Dobnak.
The 26-year-old Lopez pitched a career-high 180 innings in 32 starts last season and posted a 3.75 ERA. He’s a long-time favorite of statistically interested teams like Minnesota for his ability to hit batters (9.2 per nine innings over the past three seasons), limit walks (2.6 per nine over the same period), and keep the ball in the to keep park .
Salas, 19, is a borderline top 100 prospect who was unsubscribed from Venezuela in 2019 for $2.8 million after growing up in the Orlando area. He finished last season in High-A and will probably start there again this year.
Chourio, 17, is a midfielder who hit .344/.429/.410 for the Marlins’ Dominican Summer League team last season.