MIAMI — The Marlins on Friday acquired defending 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 in the Marlins’ system) and outfielder Byron Chourio.
Arraez, 25, who is under team control through 2025, is averaging .314 in 389 career games. In 22, he drew a career-high 50 walks to lead the Twins while striking out just 43 times, making him the only Major League player to strike out less than 50 times in at least 500 plate appearances. .
Marlins receive: INF Luis Arraez
The twins receive: RHP Pablo Lopez, INF Jose Salas (Marlins prospect No. 5), OF Byron Chourio
“There are a lot of young guys out there like me,” Arraez said. “I will be happy to play [around] many people from Venezuela, from [the Dominican Republic]from Puerto Rico.
“I hope to give a lot of energy to the Marlins fans, a lot of energy to my teammates, to the coaching staff, to everyone there. I’m just going there to win a lot of games.”
Arraez becomes the first player since Rod Carew (1978-79) — also traded from the Twins (to the Angels) — to be traded in the offseason after winning a batting title, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
By adding Arraez, Miami gains both impressive offensive strength and much-needed downfield depth. Although listed as a second baseman, Arraez played at first base more games (60) in 2022 than he did at second baseman (31) or designated hitter (34). But the Marlins want Arraez back in second place. To do that, they have a major move in the works: Jazz Chisholm Jr. slides to center field.
“Jazz is very open-minded about it,” chief executive Kim Ng told reporters via Zoom. “[He] looked enthusiastic. … Jazz is a very unique athlete. Very dynamic. It has great range, great speed. He has a lot of things you look for when you think of center field.”
The Marlins had been receiving inquiries about López since the middle of the season, and rightfully so. López, who turns 27 in March and is under team control through 2024, has a 3.94 ERA over five seasons (94 starts) with the Marlins. Last year, López teamed up with ace Sandy Alcantara to provide a solid brace at the top of Miami’s rotation, making a career-high 32 starts.
Interest from the Twins has grown over the past two weeks, and it turned into serious talks around Tuesday. That helped the Marlins formalize the signing of veteran starter Johnny Cueto on Thursday. With Alcantara and Cueto at the top of the rotation, plus Jesús Luzardo (100 1/3 innings in 2022), Trevor Rogers (133), Edward Cabrera (71 2/3) and Braxton Garrett (88), Miami has a surplus of throws departure. And that’s not to mention the current and former prospects who are nearing their return.
“Pitching is our strength, and it’s our foundation,” Ng said. “I think it was a really good baseball trade for the two clubs. … This offseason definitely felt a bit like, you know, ‘The Little Engine That Could’. It was a slow build. But we finally got there. to a better place.
Salas, who is expected to reach the Majors by 2024, is also included in the deal. He boasts more speed, solid arm strength and hits well from both sides of the plate. Chourio, 17, one of the Marlins’ international prospects, signed in January 2022 and played in the Dominican Summer League last season.
Edwards, who is ranked Miami’s No. 16 by MLB Pipeline, is expected to reach the major leagues this season, while Amaya – a shortstop – is ranked No. 12 and is likely to be in the Majors for the Marlins at some point this season after debuting in 2022.
With Arraez in the fold, the Marlins are building an infield — and a formation — to match their starting throwing depth. Are they done making moves?
“We are always looking to improve,” Ng said. “You always have to listen. Offseason is offseason – there are still several weeks left here before we move into spring training. So I think we’re still going to be looking for the next deal.