MINNEAPOLIS - Earlier this month, the Minnesota Twins accomplished what most across Major League Baseball thought would be impossible: They brought back shortstop Carlos Correa on a multi-year contract.
On Friday, the Twins shook the tree for the 2023 season even further. They traded fan-favorite and current American League batting champion Luis Arraez to the Miami Marlins for starting pitcher Pablo Lopez, and two prospects. The Twins were in need of high-end starting pitching before Opening Day, and were going to have to pay up to do so.
Arraez played 144 games last season and hit .316 with eight home runs, 31 doubles and 49 RBI. Arraez also made his first All-Star appearance last season. Lopez went 10-10 last season with a 3.75 earned run average with 174 strikeouts in 180 innings. Lopez, 22, has had an ERA under four the last three seasons.
"I’m just incredibly excited to be a part of this group. As bittersweet as it is to leave the organization that gave me the opportunity to perform at the big league level, I am very, very excited to be a Minnesota Twin.," Lopez told reporters last Friday.
Here’s a look at how the Twins’ roster looks after re-signing Correa, and trading for Lopez
Ryan Jeffers, Christian Vazquez
Carlos Correa, Jorge Polanco, Jose Miranda, Royce Lewis, Kyle Farmer
Byron Buxton, Joey Gallo, Max Kepler, Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, Gilberto Celestino, Nick Gordon
The ideal starting outfield would be Buxton in center field, Kepler in right and Gallo in left. Kirilloff and Larnach can each step into play first base if needed, and Gordon is the ultimate utility player. The key to all of that is Buxton staying healthy.
Sonny Gray, Pablo Lopez, Kenta Maeda, Tyler Mahle, Joe Ryan, Bailey Ober
The Twins can go six-deep with their starting rotation if they so choose, depending on Maeda, who is coming off Tommy John Surgery. Lopez's 10 wins last season would've been second for the Twins behind Ryan's 13. Gray won eight games in 24 starts.
They had enough position players to part with one to get Lopez. It just came with losing a quality hitter, and good clubhouse presence.
"We look at our team, we had depth. We’re a little deeper maybe on the position player side when we started this whole thing out. We always were looking for guys that can pitch toward the top end of the rotation," Twins Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey said. "I feel this is as deep a group as we’ve had. That to me is why you make a trade like this. It’s hard to get good, young starting pitching, and Pablo checks all of those boxes."
The Twins have a current bullpen that includes Jorge Alcala, Jhoan Duran, Griffin Jax, Jorge Lopez, Trevor Megill, Emilio Pagan, Caleb Thielbar and Josh Winder.
Twins’ pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in less than a month, and we’ll see what the Opening Day roster looks like in late March.