May 25, 2024

Padres acquiring Luis Arraez from Marlins for reliever, prospects: Source

By Ken Rosenthal, Dennis Lin, Keith Law and Mark Puleo

The San Diego Padres are acquiring All-Star second baseman Luis Arraez from the Miami Marlins in exchange for a package including reliever Woo-Suk Go and minor-league prospects Dillon Head, Nathan Martorella and Jakob Marsee, per league source. News of the trade was first reported by ESPN.

Arraez is a two-time All-Star and netted Silver Sluggers in 2022 and 2023, the first of which came with the Minnesota Twins. In 2023, he led MLB with a .354 batting average and slugged a career-best .469.

Through 33 games in 2024, he’s batting .299 with eight doubles and 22 runs for the 9-24 Marlins, who are on pace to win under 50 games this season.

He’ll be joining a 16-18 San Diego team that currently sits 4 1/2 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West.

Why each team made this move

Notable major-league trades rarely happen in May. Trades involving defending league batting champions almost never go down before Memorial Day. Friday, the confluence of a last-place team motivated to commence a rebuild and a pot-committed general manager with an inconsistent offense resulted in a blockbuster.

The Padres had expressed interest in Arraez since spring training, including soon after the team returned from its season-opening series in Seoul. President of baseball operations A.J. Preller, who acquired No. 1 starter Dylan Cease just before the team flew to South Korea, remains among perhaps the most aggressive GMs in the sport, and his seat is at least warm after a massively disappointing 2023 season. In Arraez, San Diego should gain much-needed impact from the left side and a singles machine who can fill in around the infield when he isn’t serving as a designated hitter.

The Marlins, meanwhile, saw greater reason to begin tearing down their roster after getting off to an awful start. Trading Arraez this early into 2024 amounts to waving a white flag; Head was considered one of the top prospects in the Padres’ farm system, but neither he nor any of the other players going to Miami are surefire major-league regulars. With Arraez already off the board, the Marlins could continue to be the league’s most obvious sellers all the way through this summer’s trade deadline. — Dennis Lin, Padres beat writer

Preseason scouting reports on Head, Martorella and Marsee

Head was the Padres’ 2023 first-round pick, an Illinois high school outfielder with borderline 80 speed, plus defense in center, and plus bat speed. He’s an outstanding athlete with fast-twitch actions on both sides of the ball, and scouts who saw him in his brief time in pro ball were impressed by the contact quality and projected more power than amateur scouts had last spring. He’s got a big floor with the speed and defense, with an above-average regular ceiling if the hit tool holds up.

Martorella can hit, but he can only play first or DH, so can he hit enough — or get to more power — to profile as a regular? He’s a bad-bodied guy who doesn’t move that well in the field and will have to work to maintain his conditioning. He’s a very strong contact hitter with a compact swing and low chase rates, but he did start to show some weaknesses against offspeed stuff last year, with lefties getting him to miss on breaking stuff in the zone. He didn’t show any platoon split in 2023, which does give more hope that he can be an everyday guy. If he finds more power, that’s his ceiling, although right now I think he’s more likely a solid bench bat who doesn’t have the power or high batting averages to be a regular at first.

Marsee looks like a quality fourth outfielder who can play above-average defense in center, take his walks, and steal at a high clip despite just average speed, lacking just the hit tool he’d need to be a regular. The Padres’ 2022 sixth-round pick out of Central Michigan, Marsee hit .274/.413/.428 last year, mostly in High A with a brief stint in Double A, then was the MVP of the Arizona Fall League after he hit .391/.509/.707 for the Peoria Javelinas. He plays very hard and plays intelligently, taking the extra base and reading balls well off the bat. The bat is very light, as he doesn’t have great bat speed and he doesn’t make much hard contact at all. He’s made some swing changes since signing that do help him get the bat to the ball more consistently, and that should be enough to make him an extra outfielder within the next year or so. — Keith Law, senior MLB writer

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(Photo: Megan Briggs / Getty Images)