Around the AL Central: Minnesota trades batting champ Luis Arraez to Miami
For a while, it looked like the Minnesota Twins would be enduring a tough offseason ahead of what could be a long 2023.
However, they emerged victorious in the Carlos Correa sweepstakes thanks to what can only be described at this point as divine intervention. After contracts stalled with both the San Francisco Giants and New York Mets, Correa signed a six-year deal worth $200 million through 2028, with four team options into 2032.
The Twins knew as well that they still needed pitching depth in order to compete in the AL Central this season, and they acquired just that in starter Pablo López from the Miami Marlins. Minnesota had to part ways with batting champ Luis Arraez last week in order to acquire López, but the Twins have now significantly improved their rotation with a guy who was a solid Guardians trade target at one point.
The Twins now sport a pretty solid top three of the rotation in Joe Ryan, Sonny Gray, and López. Ryan emerged as a potential ace last season, sporting a 3.55 ERA and 109 ERA+. The 32-year-old Gray was as dependable as always, with a 3.55 ERA and 125 ERA+ in 24 starts. Lopez, who isn't a free agent until 2025, had a 3.75 ERA and 108 ERA+ in 32 starts.
Beyond those three, though, Minnesota is going to have to piece something together in the rotation. Kenta Maeda should be back following Tommy John surgery in 2021, and guys like Chris Paddack and Tyler Mahle will have to step up. But right now, the Twins have a more than serviceable pitching staff.
Now that Arraez is off to Miami, the top of Minnesota's offense has been dealt a blow. It's hard to replace a guy who can hit .300 with his eyes closed and play every position in the infield. The Twins are no doubt hoping a guy like Royce Lewis can finally shed his prospect status and become a valuable member of the lineup, and being able to finally sign Correa no doubt help spurred this deal.
All that being said, the Guardians won't be able to rest on their laurels in the Central this year. The White Sox and Twins are legitimate contenders, and the Royals are a tough, young team that always plays hard. It's going to be an interesting fight for the division in 2023.