The lone defense for the Twins, who trade Luis Arraez Friday, is that pitching is more expensive than batting in current Major League Baseball.
Terry Ryan, the former general manager of Twins, used a 2-to-8 system to have his scouts rate players – prospects, minor and major leagues, who could be involved in trades.
Eight was All-World, 7 was a perennial All-Star, 6 was a well-above-average everyday player or top-line starter, 5 was an average everyday player or mid-rotation starter… and bottom of the list.
“I gave Joe Mauer an 8 when he was a high school kid,” said Mike Radcliff, a Twins vice president of player personnel. “And he was right there as a big league player. There weren’t many of those.”
Because I believe in the power of the eye test, I tried to figure out seismic trading — at least here in Minnesota — and settled on the following:
Twins lost a player in the “6” position in Arraez to get a “5” starter in Pablo Lopez.
Derek Falvey, the Twins’ baseball CEO, was not asked to confirm that assessment in a brief call Friday, but he did make this admission:
“It’s very expensive to acquire pitching these days.”
He also said Arraez was the player Miami wanted Lopez to give up – just Arraez – and the twins eventually decided adding a starter was more important than keeping an exceptional hitter, who turns 26 in April.
Byron Buxton’s ongoing injury woes had made Arraez the Twins’ most popular player and fans will be inclined to make an exclamation mark:
They gave up an American League batting champion!
The silver bat may be the sport’s most eye-catching trophy, and Luis will be enjoying it to the fullest, but whether or not he took a Triple Crown from the Yankees’ Aaron Judge isn’t the issue here.
Though he swung far more than most, he was the source of excellent fights – long, quality at-bats with a team low of 43 strikeouts under regulars or semi-regulars, with a team high of 603 plate appearances.
Carlos Correa will miss the six or seven pitches on the second shot that Arraez allowed him to see from a pitcher. As shortstop, Correa may enjoy having the 6-5 Joey Gallo as his target at first base rather than the 5-10 Arraez, but he won’t learn much from watching Gallo’s ABs — generally a race between a walk or a punch .
That contest was a blowout in 2022, when Gallo hit a staggering 163 times in 410 plate appearances compared to 56 walks. At least he hit .160, just 156 points behind Arraez.
I have a feeling this has been used before, but it’s worth another cheap try:
Who knew the #1 void the Twins would decide to fill was bringing in Gallo to replace Miguel Sano’s strikeouts?
Falvey praised Arraez for the Zoom interview he did with Lopez (smart guy) on Friday afternoon, but there was a clear disconnect between the Brain Trust and Arraez.
Luis is said to have turned down a contract offer from the Twins before last season. And he ended up being their only player under eight eligible for arbitration this round to request a hearing.
Bottom line: Arraez felt he was more valuable to the Twins than he had in the last two seasons.
Top line: A strong majority of fans agree with Arraez.
Regardless of the comments or social media we read, the Arraez trade won’t cost the twins in ticket sales. A staggering majority of people who threaten not to go to another game have never been to one since they walked in the Metrodome for $1 as a Little Leaguer.
Plus, the twins are already at their lowest point in ticket sales in two decades – and that’s when Luis won the AL batting title named after Rod Carew.
There were rumors that Carew would be in town for Thursday’s Diamond Awards to personally congratulate Arraez. That’s off the table now.
What probably won’t end is Carew watching Marlins games on a baseball pack out there in California, Arraez showing up a few times and texting him to stop standing up and crouching back down.
Sir Rodney needs to have Luis’s phone number by now so he doesn’t need Dick Bremer as an intermediary.
Good luck Luis.
Those of us who admire a craftsman and don’t smell monsters on the plate will miss you more than the twins’ flashes of genius.