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Marlins sends two-time batting champion Arraez to Padres

Luis Arraez Miami Marlins Luis Arraez - The Canadian Press

OAKLAND, Calif. — San Diego acquired two-time batting champion Luis Arraez from the Miami Marlins along with nearly $7.9 million on Saturday in a deal for four players that left the Padres responsible only for the major league minimum salary.

First baseman Nathan Martorella, outfielders Dillon Head and Jakob Marsee, and right-hander Woo-Suk Go were dealt to the Marlins for the second baseman, who won the 2022 AL batting title with Minnesota and the 2023 NL crown with the Marlins.

Miami is paying San Diego $7,898,602 of the $8,491,398 remaining for the final 149 days of Arraez’s $10.6 million salary. That left his cost to the Padres at $592,796 — exactly a prorated share of the $740,000 minimum.

“We decided that right now, given our record so far this year, given the state of our minor league system, given our stated goals of developing this franchise into a sustainably successful team that’s winning 90-plus games year in and year out, we had to make this difficult move,” Marlins president of baseball operations Peter Bendix said during a conference call with reporters. “We got a lot of prospect talent in return. We felt that was the right move to make for the organization.”

Arraez, who turned 27 last month, can become a free agent after the 2025 World Series.

A two-time All-Star, Arraez is hitting .299 with eight doubles, one triple, five RBIs and 22 runs scored in 33 games this season. The 27-year-old has hit safely in 17 of his last 21 games after beginning the season with a .234 average over his first 12 games.

Arraez finished eighth in NL MVP voting last year after setting career highs in average, hits (203), home runs (10) and RBIs (69). He also hit for his first career cycle on April 11 last year at Philadelphia.

Since making his major league debut in 2019, Arraez leads major league players with a .324 average. He has hit over .300 in four of his five previous major league seasons and became the first player to win a batting title in both leagues in consecutive seasons.

Arraez was pulled from the Marlins’ lineup before their game in Oakland.

“When a guy like that is taken out of the lineup or potentially traded, you feel it, because he’s such a good kid and one of the leaders in that clubhouse,” Marlins manager Skip Schumaker said, “so there’s definitely a shock value.”

There was also some shock in the Padres’ clubhouse after their 7-1 victory over the Diamondbacks on Friday night, though it was for happier reasons.

“It’s really amazing — that guy is a baller,” San Diego slugger Fernando Tatis Jr. said about Arraez. “He’s probably the closest to Tony Gwynn right now, so looking forward to seeing him in our lineup. ... The guy’s a pure hitter and I can’t wait for him to help us.”

San Diego began Saturday 4 1/2 games behind the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers.

Gwynn won eight batting titles for the Padres during his Hall of Fame career from 1982 to 2001.

Arraez, who was traded by the Twins to Miami for Pablo López in January 2023, made his way through the Marlins’ dugout at the Coliseum shaking hands and offering hugs and goodbyes.

“Great teammate,” Schumaker said. “So of course, yeah, I think that it’s human nature that there’s an initial shock value when it happens. Again, nothing’s official, but when he gets pulled out of the lineup these guys aren’t dumb, they know what’s going on. I think that the initial shock factor is definitely real and hopefully it goes away in a couple days or tomorrow or whatever it is because we know it’s a business and you’re paid here to come here and win games and be professional.”

Bendix declined to say the trade is the start of a rebuild by the Marlins.

“I’m not going to put any terminology on it,” Bendix said. “I think it’s consistent with the message and vision that I’ve had since my time taking over the organization’s baseball operations, which is that we have one eye on the future and one eye on the present. Our goal remains to build towards the long-term sustainable success.”

Martorella was playing in a Double-A game for San Antonio and at second base when he was removed from the game, confused initially before saying his goodbyes. He was batting .294 with six doubles, two homers and 14 RBIs.

Go, 25, agreed to a $4.5 million, two-year deal with the Padres during the offseason after seven seasons with the LG Twins in South Korea and was 0-2 with a 4.38 ERA in 10 relief appearances at San Antonio.

Head, 19, was hitting .237 with one homer and nine RBIs at Class A Lake Elsinore.

Marsee, 22, was batting .176 with two homers, five RBIs and 12 stolen bases at San Antonio. He was MVP of the Arizona Fall League last year.


AP Baseball Writer David Brandt in Phoenix contributed to this report.