Why the Twins were smart to trade 2022 AL batting champion Luiz Arraez
Minnesota Twins designated hitter Luis Arraez Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Why the Twins were smart to trade 2022 AL batting champion Luiz Arraez

Luis Arraez, the 2022 American League batting champion, will have a new home for the 2023 season.

The Twins traded Arraez on Friday to the Miami Marlins in exchange for starting pitcher Pablo Lopez and top prospect Jose Salas, according to the Athletic's Ken Rosenthal.

While trading the AL's reigning batting champion might seem like a shocking move, it has a chance to be a short-term and long-term win for the Twins. 

The 26-year-old Arraez has spent the first four years of his big-league career with the Twins and has developed into an outstanding hitter during that time. He is a .314 hitter for his career and never finished a season with an average lower than .294. His .319 mark in 2022 led the American League. But he is not just an empty average hitter, either. He gets on base and has the versatility to play several positions around the infield.

So, what makes this such a great deal for the Twins?

Start with the fact that Lopez gives them some much-needed starting pitching help and should immediately be one of the best starters in their rotation. He averages more than eight strikeouts per nine innings, has good control, and consistently has a sub-4.00 ERA. 

That alone is a big get for the Twins. With the return of Carlos Correa in free agency, as well as the presence of Jorge Polanco at second base and Jose Miranda at first, the Twins have more than enough pop around their infield. It was a position of strength they were able to deal from to fill a position of weakness. 

That is exactly what teams are looking for in a trade.

What adds to it for the Twins is that the 19-year-old Salas is one of the Marlins' top prospects and has the potential to be a regular in the Minnesota lineup in the future. 

The AL Central is very much wide open, and the Twins can be a contender in with better pitching. Lopez helps them get there. Even if the cost is a 2022 All-Star and American League batting champion. 

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