Luis Arraez trade: Padres working to acquire two-time batting champion from Marlins, per report

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The San Diego Padres are closing in on a trade for Miami Marlins second baseman Luis Arraez, Jeff Passan of ESPN reports. According to The Miami Herald’s Craig Mish, the Marlins in return are receiving outfield prospects Dillon Head and Jakob Marsee, 1B/OF prospect Nathan Martorella, and minor-league reliever Woo-suk Go.

Arraez, 27, has won two straight batting titles, one with the Twins in the American League in 2022 and then a second with the Marlins in the National League last season. In 2024, Arraez is slashing .299/.347/.372 in 33 games for Miami. For his career, Arraez has batted .324/.377/.423 (122 OPS+) with 24 home runs across parts of six major-league seasons. While Arraez lacks power, he’s one of the best contact hitters of his generation, and his offense grades out quite well by the standards of middle infielders. He’s a two-time All-Star and is more than just a rental for the Padres, as Arraez isn’t slated for free agency until after the 2025 season. 

It’s not certain what role Arraez will fill in San Diego, other than improving the lineup. Xander Bogaerts, who’s in the second year of a $280 million free-agent contract, is the primary second baseman. It’s hard to imagine that Bogaerts will be resigned to limited duty even though he’s struggled at the plate thus far in 2024. Given that Manny Machado has been the Pads’ primary DH this season, Arraez may see time at third base or perhaps slot in at DH and bump Machado back to his usual position. If nothing else, his presence gives first-year manager Mike Shildt some flexibility in the infield. 

On the Marlins’ side of things, Head is probably the key piece of the deal. The No. 25 overall pick out of an Illinois junior college last year, the 19-year-old Head has a .726 OPS in 48 games as a pro spread across two seasons. He’s been in the California League this season and has spent most of his time in center field. Here’s what CBS Sports wrote about head at the time he was drafted

“Head might be the fastest player in the draft, having posted a better 60-yard dash time than Enrique Bradfield Jr. did at the same stage in his development. He leverages that speed, plus his above-average arm strength, into high-quality center-field defense. While evaluators can feel confident in that aspect of his game, he offers a wider range of potential offensive outcomes. Head has good bat speed and he’s added strength, but he hasn’t faced top-flight competition in Illinois and he often loads beyond his back foot. Head, who hails from the same high school as White Sox announcer Jason Benetti, has a commitment to play at Clemson.”

Marsee, 22, is a former sixth-rounder out of Central Michigan. Across parts of three seasons in the Padres’ system, he’s slashed .258/.406/.413 with 73 steals and 20 homers 182 games and as many walks as strikeouts. Marsee is currently playing in the Double-A Texas League. Martorella, 23, was a 2022 fifth-rounder out of Cal. In 791 minor-league plate appearances, he’s put up an .820 OPS with 24 home runs and 44 doubles. He’s also been at Double-A San Antonio this season. Finally, Go was inked out of Korea this past offseason. The 25-year-old right-hander has made 10 relief appearances for San Antonio with an ERA of 5.11 and 15 strikeouts against four walks in 12 1/3 innings. 

Early May is quite soon for a major trade such as this, particularly considering the Marlins made the playoffs last year. However, Miami’s awful start to the season — they enter the weekend with a record of 9-24 and a 13-game deficit in the NL East — prompted new-ish Marlins president of baseball operations Peter Bendix to begin what figures to be a deep sell-off between now and the trade deadline. 

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