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Swimming Between The Lines: Luis Arraez Trade

Swimming Between The Lines: Luis Arraez Trade

Heading into the 2023 MLB season, the Miami Marlins aren’t exactly on the radar as a legitimate postseason contender. They’re in a tremendously difficult division, having to compete with the likes of the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies. In theory, this leaves the Marlins out to sea when it comes to qualifying for the playoffs.

Despite public sentiment and the current betting odds, Miami has made some shrewd moves this offseason to remain competitive. The team swung for the fences after the MLB hot stove has cooled, acquiring reigning American League batting champion Luis Arraez from the Minnesota Twins.

In order to obtain Arraez’s services, the Marlins parted ways with starting pitcher Pablo Lopez.

We’ll take a look at what this trade means for Miami as they head into spring training.

Miami Feels Good About Its Rotation

Before getting into Arraez’s fit on the roster, it’s pretty telling to take a closer look at what the Marlins decided to give up in this deal.

By dealing Pablo Lopez away, it can be inferred that Miami feels awfully good about its starting pitching heading into next season. After getting roughed up a little bit in his first couple of major league seasons, Lopez has become a really solid pitcher. He’s had an ERA under four for the last three seasons, and was a durable arm for Miami last year, and a fan favorite at Marlins Park. Lopez made 32 starts and pitched 180 innings in 2022.

There’s no question that the Marlins rotation is anchored by defending Cy Young award winner Sandy Alcantra, but the depth behind him will be the reason why the team sinks or swims in 2023. Trevor Rogers has a lot of potential, but didn’t pitch well last season. The Marlins are hoping that Johnny Cueto turns back the clock, and that Jesus Luzardo takes another step forward in his development.


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Playing Smaller-Ball

In this day and age, most organizations are focused on getting runners on base, and knocking them in via extra base hits or home runs. The value of a player who doesn’t offer a ton of power but keeps the lineup moving is often overlooked.

With the trade for Arraez, Miami is essentially zigging while the rest of the league is zagging. That might not be a bad thing, as a consistent table-setter at the top of the lineup consistently puts pressure on opposing pitchers.

Arraez won the battling title last year, hitting .316. In his four years in the major leagues, he’s a career .314 hitter. He’s shown a great ability to make contact, something the Marlins struggled with in 2022. Miami hitters only managed a .230 average as a team last season.

Versatility Matters

The great thing for new Miami Marlins manager Skip Schumaker is that he’ll be able to get Arraez into the lineup in a multitude of ways. He played 65 games at first base, 41 games at second base and 38 games at DH for the Twins last year. Arraez also manned third base for seven contests as well.

This gives Schumaker some much needed flexibility as he leads a team for the first time in his career.

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