- ESPN MLB insider
Author of “The Arm: Inside the Billion-Dollar Mystery of the Most Valuable Commodity in Sports”
The Miami Marlins and Minnesota Twins executed a long-rumored trade Friday, with American League batting champion Luis Arraez heading to Miami for right-hander Pablo Lopez and a pair of prospects, sources familiar with the deal told ESPN.
The deal, variations of which the teams have discussed for months, brings a much-needed bat to the Marlins, adding to their winter signing of Jean Segura, who’s expected to play third base.
The cost was significant, though. In addition to Lopez, a talented starter who slots in toward the top of Minnesota’s rotation, the Marlins will send shortstop Jose Salas and outfielder Byron Chourio, two well-regarded teenagers, to the Twins.
Arraez, 25, is a career .314 hitter with unparalleled bat-to-ball skills in the modern game. Last season, he made the All-Star team and finished 13th in AL MVP balloting after hitting .316/.375/.420, scoring 88 runs and registering more walks (50) than strikeouts (43). He is not a free agent until after the 2025 season.
He joins a Marlins team with a strong rotation headlined by National League Cy Young winner Sandy Alcantara. Miami’s lineup, however, struggled mightily last year, with injuries sidelining incumbent second baseman Jazz Chisholm while free agent signings Avisail Garcia and Jorge Soler disappointed.
The Marlins have considered moving Chisholm to shortstop or center field, though Arraez could man first base — where he played more than any position last year — or a corner-outfield slot.
Minnesota, meanwhile, can slot young slugger Jose Miranda at first base or keep Miranda and third and use Alex Kirilloff at 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.
Lopez, 26, threw a career-high 180 innings last season over 32 starts and registered a 3.75 ERA. He has long been a favorite of statistically inclined teams like Minnesota for his ability to strike out batters (9.2 per nine innings over the last three seasons), limit walks (2.6 per nine over the same period) and keep the ball in the park.
Salas, 19, is a borderline top 100 prospect, signed out of Venezuela for $2.8 million in 2019 after growing up in the Orlando area. He finished last season in High-A and should start there again this year.
Chourio, 17, is a center fielder who hit .344/.429/.410 for the Marlins’ Dominican Summer League team last season.
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