Twins trade batting champ Arraez to Marlins for Pablo López

Jan 19, 2023, 11:39 PM | Updated: Jan 20, 2023, 5:22 pm
FILE - Minnesota Twins' Luis Arraez points to the dugout after hitting a single against the Kansas ...

FILE - Minnesota Twins' Luis Arraez points to the dugout after hitting a single against the Kansas City Royals during the second inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022, in Minneapolis. On Friday, Jan. 20, 2023, the Twins traded reigning AL batting champion Arraez to the Miami Marlins for a three-player package featuring starting pitcher Pablo López. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr, File)

(AP Photo/Abbie Parr, File)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Luis Arraez was taking a nap Friday after a workout when he got a call and was told the Minnesota Twins had traded him to the Miami Marlins.

“I was surprised,” he said, “but this is baseball. This is a business. I’m ready to go now. I’m a Marlin and I’m excited to be here.”

The Twins traded the reigning AL batting champion to the Marlins for a three-player package featuring starting pitcher Pablo López.

López should bolster an already deep Twins rotation, albeit one that’s absent a true ace. He’ll slot in with Sonny Gray, Tyler Mahle, Kenta Maeda, Joe Ryan and perhaps Bailey Ober. This has been an eventful month for the Twins, having re-signed shortstop Carlos Correa.

“I’m really excited about coming to this team, the leaders they have in the clubhouse and the players they have to support each other,” López said on a video interview with reporters. “It’s a mentality that really motivates me too. I ask and expect more of myself when it comes to my performance and the ways I can help out the team.”

The 25-year-old Arraez had a breakout season for Minnesota last year, making his first All-Star team while batting a league-best .316 and denying Aaron Judge a Triple Crown. The Yankees star led the AL in home runs and RBIs and finished five points behind Arraez in batting average.

Arraez is a multi-positional player who spent most of his time at first base for the Twins last year, starting 61 games there, 34 at designated hitter and 31 at second base. He has also played extensively at third base and left field.

Marlins general manager Kim Ng said Arraez is expected to play second base for Miami, and Jazz Chisolm Jr, who has mainly played second base during his major league career with the Marlins, will move to center field.

The Twins also received two prospects from the Marlins: infielder Jose Salas and outfielder Byron Chourio. The 19-year-old Salas, who finished last season with Miami’s high Class A affiliate, was picked as the organization’s fifth-best prospect in the most recent MLB Pipeline rankings. The 17-year-old Chourio, also a native of Venezuela, played in the Dominican Summer League last season after signing with the Marlins organization in June.

Arraez will give the Marlins three years of contract control. This is his first year of salary arbitration eligibility. He was the only Twins player who didn’t settle at the deadline last week, asking for $6.1 million in 2023 while the team offered $5 million.

The native of Venezuela became a fan favorite for his persistence and patience at the plate, as tough of an out as there has been in baseball in recent years with only 131 strikeouts in 1,569 career plate appearances. He has only 14 home runs over four seasons, but his career on-base percentage is .374.

Twins fans who are old enough might also have winced when the club traded reigning AL batting champion Rod Carew after the 1978 season, albeit with far different circumstances.

“Anytime you have a player that’s well liked in the environment, who you know is going to go work and do it every day which we got to see with Luis, it makes it harder,” Twins president of baseball operations Derek Falvey said. “We’d love to have Luis and Pablo on our team, but to get something as impactful as what Pablo brings to our team, you have to give something impactful.”

The 26-year-old López had a 3.75 ERA in 32 starts last season. He threw a career-high 180 innings. Over the last two seasons, he had 289 strikeouts in 282 2/3 innings.

“When you trade anyone it’s always difficult, particularly when you’re talking about someone like Pablo,” Ng said. “Just a first-class guy, tremendous human being. He’s done a lot for the Marlins organization.”

Maeda, Gray, Mahle and Ryan were all acquired in recent trades, too, and whether minor-leaguers or major-leaguers the Twins have had to part with several valuable players to get them.

“I don’t care where they come from. We need really good starters and we need really good pitchers,” Falvey said. “The goal here is to continue to deepen your starting rotation and pitching staff however we can do it.”

Falvey listed Ober sixth when he mentioned the group in a video interview. He said the Twins have discussed a six-man rotation but weren’t “ready to stamp that yet.” Injuries ravaged the rotation last year, so chances are the Twins will need more than six starters over the course of 2023.

The deal makes sense for Miami, which has a strong pitching rotation highlighted by NL Cy Young Award winner Sandy Alcantara, and newly acquired right-hander Johnny Cueto. The Marlins struggled at the plate last season, though, batting .230 in 2022, and had been looking to add another hitter to their lineup after signing former Philadelphia infielder Jean Segura. Miami also recently traded shortstop Miguel Rojas to the Dodgers.

“We’ve talked about it quite often, wanting to add offense this offseason,” Ng said. “We’re willing to trade some of our pitching to do it. What we get in Luis Arraez is a left-handed, very good hitter.”

___

AP Sports Writer Alanis Thames contributed to this report.

___

AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE -Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James (23) celebrates during the second half in Game 6 of basketba...
Associated Press

James cleared to play at Indiana as scoring chase continues

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James was set to resume his NBA scoring-record chase Thursday night at Indiana after being cleared to start. James entered the day 89 points away from breaking Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s mark of 38,387. James, a 19-time All-Star, had been listed as questionable because of a sore left […]
17 hours ago
Australia's Nick Kyrgios, left, and Serbia's Novak Djokovic shake hands following an exhibition mat...
Associated Press

Tennis star Kyrgios to contest Australian assault charge

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Tennis star Nick Kyrgios was due to appear in an Australian court Friday to apply to have an assault charge stemming from events two years ago dismissed on mental health grounds. His lawyer Michael Kukulies-Smith appeared in a court in Kyrgios’ hometown of Canberra in October and asked for an adjournment […]
17 hours ago
Philadelphia Eagles' Jalen Hurts pauses during a news conference at the NFL football team's trainin...
Associated Press

Hurts ready for historic Super Bowl matchup with Mahomes

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Brandon Graham laughed as he recalled all the doubters who rushed him during the offseason and blurted out the same question — the main concern, really — about the state of the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback. “What’s Jalen going to do?” said Graham, the strip-sacking defensive end. Yes, it’s hard to remember now, […]
2 days ago
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, right, and European Commission President Ursula von der Le...
Associated Press

IOC details Russia stance for Olympics, cites human rights

GENEVA (AP) — The IOC stepped up efforts Thursday to explain its position on trying to help Russian athletes qualify for next year’s Paris Olympics amid a backlash from Ukraine and its allies. The International Olympic Committee’s move last week to map a pathway to Paris for athletes from Russia and Belarus who have not […]
2 days ago
FILE - Chicago Sky guard Courtney Vandersloot dribbles the ball against the New York Liberty during...
Associated Press

Vandersloot latest star to join New York Liberty

NEW YORK (AP) — Courtney Vandersloot became the latest star to join the New York Liberty. Vandersloot, who had played her entire 12-year career with the Chicago Sky, announced Thursday on social media that she would play with the Liberty this season, a day after Breanna Stewart said she’d play in New York. The moves […]
2 days ago
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes talks to the media before an NFL football workout Th...
Associated Press

Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes gets back to work for Super Bowl

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Patrick Mahomes strolled through Arrowhead Stadium without any issues with his injured right ankle on Thursday, and the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback expects to practice fully in the next 10 days leading up to the Super Bowl. Mahomes sprained the ankle during the divisional round against Jacksonville, and he was […]
2 days ago
Twins trade batting champ Arraez to Marlins for Pablo López