On Monday, it was reported by Dan Hayes of The Athletic that “in their constant search for top-tier pitching, the (Minnesota Twins) have discussed trading batting champ Luis Arráez.” On Thursday, it was reported by Ted Schwerzler of Twins Daily that the Minnesota Twins are “engaged in discussion” with the Marlins regarding Pablo López.” While awaiting more developments on this, we can begin to entertain the possibility of Arráez coming to Miami next season.
Luis Arráez is a 25-year-old Venezuelan hitter who almost always makes contact and can play every position in the infield (shortstop in emergency situations). Arráez has spent most of his career in second base, but with Jazz Chisholm Jr. at second, his best fit with the Marlins would be at third base or first base.
Arráez led the American League in batting average in 2022, including a slash line of .316/.375/.420/.795/8 HR/49 RBI. He has never hit under .294 during a single season since debuting in the majors in 2019 and he has never struck out in over 10.0% of his plate appearances. Arráez isn’t known for hitting the ball hard, but when you spray balls to all fields like a certain Hall of Famer once did, I think he can be trusted to have continued success.
First 389 Career Games:— Louis Addeo-Weiss (@addeo_louis00) December 5, 2022
Tony Gwynn: .322/.372/.414
Luis Arraez: .314/.374/.410 https://t.co/1ANTlPsJW9
Understandably, Dan Hayes makes it clear that the “Twins would prefer not to trade Arráez,” but they are searching for proven big-league pitching. Many of the best free agent agent options have come off the board, including Japanese starter Kodai Senga on Saturday. As teams like Minnesota hope to add rotation pieces on cheap salaries, that’s where the Marlins come in.
I believe that Pablo López is a top-30 pitcher in Major League Baseball, especially after his 2022 campaign where he pitched a total of 180 innings and won NL Pitcher of the Month honors in April. López was receiving Cy Young attention early on in the season, and after a midseason slump, he finished on a high note. The biggest question about Pablo earlier in his career was his durability and he finally proved that he’s capable of staying healthy for a full year. The Marlins reportedly had serious talks with the Yankees and Dodgers about López prior to the trade deadline, but the offers they received weren’t strong enough to convince them to move him.
Miami and Minnesota have swung trades in the past, most recently in 2019 involving Sergio Romo and Lewin Díaz. There is more at stake in these negotiations because both Arráez and López are in the primes of their careers and still have multiple seasons of club control left (three for Arráez, two for López). But it makes sense that these teams would be motivated to help each other out.
As I did in last week’s Trevor Rogers article, I will be using Baseball Trade Values to estimate the values that these players have on the market right now. BTV has Arráez at 26.6 million dollars in surplus value and López at 38.7 million. Beyond Arráez, the Marlins should be trying to get additional pieces to balance out the deal.
Arráez would immediately slide into the Marlins’ everyday lineup, likely hitting second or third and helping defensively at whichever infield position Miami needs him most. In this scenario, the Marlins are buying low on Max Kepler with hopes that he benefits from the MLB shift ban and temporarily fills their hole in center field. After 2023, he has a $10 million club option for 2024. The former top draft pick Austin Martin would finish off his development at AAA Jacksonville.
On the other end, the Twins acquire somebody who could emerge as the ace of their rotation. It never seemed likely that López would get a contract extension from the Marlins, but maybe Minnesota is more willing to invest in him long term. In a weaker division and with ownership that is focused on winning, Pablo gets to compete on a year-to-year basis.
Pablo López for Luis Arráez, Max Kepler and Austin Martin. Who says no?
This poll is closed
Marlins say no
Twins say no