2:09 p.m.: outfielder Byron Chourio is the third player directed to Minnesota, tweets Mish. Baseball America ranks him 29th in the Miami system.
1:57 p.m.: Field prospecting Jose Salas also heads to Minnesota, reports Craig Mish of SportsGrid and the Miami Herald. He currently ranks fourth among Miami prospects at Baseball America and fifth on MLB.com.
1:50 p.m.: Twins, Marlins agree to infield send trade Luis Arraez to Miami and right-handed Pablo Lopez in Minnesota, reports ESPN’s Jeff Passan. Ken Rosenthal and Dan Hayes of The Athletic, who initially said the deal is progressing, report that it is not a one-for-one swap and will involve additional players. Jon Heyman of the New York Post tweet that the Twins will acquire two prospects from Miami in addition to Lopez.
The heart of the trade, for immediate purposes, will see the Twins trade three years of Arraez, the defending American League batting champion, for two seasons of Lopez, who will be an immediate upgrade to their rotation. Lopez, 26, has emerged as a quality starter in the big league over the past three seasons, hitting a 3.52 ERA with a 25% strikeout rate, 7% walk rate and walk rate. on the ground by 47.4% in 340 innings.
Lopez has struggled with injury issues throughout his career, landing on the injured list three times due to shoulder strain. The most recent of those three injuries came in the summer of 2021 and wiped out more than two months of Lopez’s season, but he was injury-free in 2022 when he pitched a career-high 180 innings over a span of 32 starts. Last year’s performance earned Lopez a still eminently affordable $5.45 million. He will be eligible for another officiating raise in the 2023-24 offseason before reaching free agency after the 2024 campaign — barring an extension, of course.
Newly acquired Lopez will enter a Twins rotation that also includes Sonny Gray, Joe Ryan and Tyler Mahle. It’s possible Lopez’s acquisition could push Kenta Maeda in a bullpen role after missing the entire 2022 season following internal splint surgery on his right elbow in September 2021. If the team wishes to return Maeda to the starting role in which he thrived for them in 2020, when he was the 27-year-old Cy Young American League voting runner-up Bailey Ober would be the most likely subtraction from the starting staff. Alternatively, the Twins could look to deploy a six-man rotation that would help them manage Maeda’s workload and hopefully improve the health of a starting staff usually hampered by injuries throughout the season. 2022 season.
On the other side of the trade, the Marlins will get a left-handed bat to help balance a heavily right-handed roster. Arraez brings Miami perhaps the most impeccable batting skills in Major League Baseball, having stoked just 8.3% of his plate appearances since debuting at age 22 in 2019. He doesn’t walk at a particularly high clip, but Arraez’s mark of 8.7 percent is still higher than both his strikeout rate and last season’s league average walk rate of 8.2 percent.
Arraez, 26 in April, hit .316/.375/.420 with a career-high eight homers in 2022 and is a lifetime .314/.374/.410 hitter in the major leagues. His contact qualities are unmatched and will probably still allow him to hit for a high average, but the rest of his game is rather limited. Arraez lacks power, as evidenced by a career ISO 0.096 (slugging minus batting average), and his average sprint speed is below average, according to Statcast.
While he made his debut as a second baseman, defensive struggles left Arraez like something of a positionless nomad. He bounced between second base, first base, third base and left field, providing lackluster defensive ratings at each of those spots other than first base. This could well be his new position in Miami, given the presence of Jazz Chisholm Jr. at second base and Jean Segura at third base. If so, All-Star 2022 Garrett Cooper would likely slip into a DH role – if not traded, given his pending free agent status after the season – slipping as well Jorge Soler back in the outfield.
Like Lopez, Arraez has worrying injury issues on his resume. A torn ACL during his prospecting days torched his 2017 season, and he’s been on the injured list three times since Opening Day 2020 also due to knee issues. Arraez also spent a week on the 7-Day IL concussion in 2021 and missed nearly three weeks of this season due to shoulder strain.
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