Miami Marlins: Grading the Luis Arraez trade with the San Diego Padres

San Diego Padres v Miami Marlins
San Diego Padres v Miami Marlins / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

The Miami Marlins have officially traded two-time All-Star and two-time batting champ Luis Arraez to the San Diego Padres. The 9-25 Fish seem to be headed toward similar veteran-for-prospect deals as they continue to freefall after a surprise 2023 Wild Card berth.

The club acquired four prospects in the deal with outfielders, Dillon Head, Jakob Marsee, Nathan Martorella (who also has 1B experience), as well as reliever Woo-Suk Go. How did the Marlins fair? Let's discuss.

The Loss of Arraez

Miami has long been devoid of impact bats. Now, the club must recover from losing one of the most skilled and consistent hitters in baseball. While Arraez lacked traditional power or speed, he has established himself as the premier contact hitter in MLB.

Since 2019, no one in baseball has recorded a higher batting average than the former Marlins' infielder (minimum 100 plate appearances). In a league filled with superstar contact hitters like Freddie Freeman, Jose Altuve, Mookie Betts, Trea Turner, and Corey Seager, none can match Arraez's .322 batting average during that span.

Still just 27 years old, Arraez's combination of youth and positional flexibility would have also made him an easy building block in 2024 and beyond. His $10.6 million salary in 2024 and his impending free agency created some rub with the famously small-market Marlins.

Trading him in a rebuild situation isn't crazy. But it all depends on the return. This leads us to...

The New Additions

Unfortunately for Miami, none of the four prospects are particularly exciting. None rank in MLB's Top 100 Prospects. And, barring a significant jump in development, none profile as long-term impact players.

19-year-old outfielder Dillon Head is the most interesting of the group. He has top-tier speed and a plus glove. If he continues to develop, he could become a solid base-stealing threat and defender at the major league level. However, Head's young age makes him a relatively volatile prospect to project, as he has a considerable range of outcomes. His less-than-sure hitting abilities could also limit his ability to impact the batting-poor Marlins.

Martorella (currently 23-years-old) is a more MLB-ready prospect. He has a good eye at the plate (hitting nearly .300 in Double-A this season) and recording nearly as make walks as strikeouts. However, he is also limited athletically, lacks speed, and has modest power production so far in his minor league career. If everything breaks perfectly, he could become a poor man's version of Arraez. Unfortunately, that profile is considerable less appealing when the player isn't leading MLB in batting average.

Marsee has a similar skillset to Martorella. He has good contact abilities, poor athleticism, and limited upside. His extreme fly-ball tendencies resemble Tampa Bay star Isaac Paredes. Interestingly, Marlins President Peter Bendix was a part of Tampa's club when Paredes learned to capitalize on his pull-side power and become one of the better power hitters in baseball. Perhaps, in the best case scenario, the same wisdom can be applied to Marsee. However, this is undoubtedly a gamble.

Lastly, the Marlins received international prospect Woo-Suk Go. On one hand, Go posted a stellar 3.18 ERA and 139 saves during his South Korean baseball career. The Marlins' inconsistent bullpen could certainly benefit from a solid reliever with closer-level abilities. However, the 25-year-old reliever had 12.50 ERA and a 2.800 WHIP in six Spring Training appearances earlier this year.

Go's stuff isn't overwhelming. But he does have the savvy and experience to adapt to MLB. Yet, his long-term upside as a difference-making asset seems like it has a ceiling.

The Verdict

One cannot help but wonder if the Fish would have wisest to retain Arraez as a building block in their rebuild. He clearly has limitations. But he was also a fan favorite. And his battle-title chases would have added intrigue during rebuild seasons.

However, even if trading Arraez in the name of a full rebuild was necessary, this was hardly an inspiring return. Landing even a single top-100 prospect would have given the franchise and fan base something tangible to place their hope in.

For now, the Luis Arraez trade forces Miami fans to an all-to-familiar position. The present state of the club is being sacrificed. Yet another fire sale seems impending. And fans have no choice but to play the long game, hope the farm system can be revamped, and pray that the club can build a Rays-like winner over the next half-decade.

For now, it's a less-than-inspiring start.

Final grade for the Marlins' Arraez deal: D.

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