Just a handful of weeks until pitchers and catchers report, general managers are putting the finishing touches on their rosters ahead of spring training. While most big names have found homes for the 2023 season, this week saw a flurry of smaller deals. Let’s take a look at all of the signings and other news from around Major League Baseball.
Twins and Marlins Swap Significant Pieces
While much of the attention has been on the free agent market, we saw a big trade this week as the Miami Marlins and Minnesota Twins agreed on a four-player swap.
The Marlins acquired the reigning AL batting champion, Luis Arraez. The 25-year-old hit .316/.375/.420 with eight home runs, 49 runs batted in, and 88 runs scored in 547 at-bats for the Twins last year. He walked (50) seven more times than he struck out (43).
According to general manager Kim Ng, the Marlins intend to play Arraez at second base, with incumbent Jazz Chisholm Jr moving to center field for the upcoming season.
For the Twins, the main piece in the deal is starting pitcher Pablo Lopez. In 32 games for the Marlins last year, the 26-year-old Lopez went 10-10 with a 3.75 ERA, 1.167 WHIP, and he struck out 174 in 180 innings. Lopez will likely slot in behind Sonny Gray in the Twins’ rotation.
The Twins also added two prospects in the deal in infielder Jose Salas and outfielder Byron Chourio. Salas ranked as the best infielder in the Marlins’ system prior to the trade, while Chourio is just 17 and has several years of seasoning before he can make an impact.
The Marlins currently have the fourth-best odds of winning the NL East (+4000), while the Twins have the third-best odds of winning the NL Central (+250).
Trio Of Outfielders Find Homes
As dominoes continue to fall in free agency, a trio of veteran outfielders found homes this week.
The most notable of the three is veteran outfielder Andrew McCutchen. The 36-year-old outfielder returns to where his career started as he returns to the Pittsburgh Pirates on a one-year deal worth $5 million.
Last season, with the Milwaukee Brewers, McCutchen hit .237/.316/.384 with 17 home runs, 69 runs batted in, 66 runs scored, and eight stolen bases in 515 at-bats. He will try to serve as a veteran voice in an otherwise young clubhouse and could potentially serve as trade bait to a contender for the Pirates at the deadline.
Elsewhere, the New York Mets continued their spending spree this offseason by adding outfielder Tommy Pham on a one-year, $6 million deal (plus incentives). Pham will likely serve as a fourth outfielder and could platoon at designated hitter with Daniel Vogelbach.
Last season, with the Reds and Red Sox, Pham hit a combined .236/.312/.374 with 17 home runs, 63 runs batted in, and 89 runs scored in 554 at-bats.
Lastly, the Boston Red Sox replaced Pham by adding slugging outfielder Adam Duvall to the mix on a one-year, $7 million deal (plus incentives). Duvall will likely get time at all three outfield spots, and he could even serve as the Opening Day starter in center if Jarren Duran is not deemed ready.
With the Braves last season, the 34-year-old outfielder hit .213/.276/.401 with 12 home runs, 36 runs batted in, and 39 runs scored in just 287 at-bats.
Royals Bring In Veteran Reliever
After a relatively quiet offseason, the Kansas City Royals made some noise this week as they signed veteran reliever Aroldis Chapman to a one-year, $3.75 million deal (plus incentives).
Chapman is no longer the intimidating presence on the mound that he used to be, but the Royals hope that he can provide value to the bullpen, and if he does, it wouldn’t be shocking to see them move him midseason.
Chapman went 4-4 with nine saves, a 4.46 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, and 43 strikeouts in 36.1 innings last season for the Yankees.
Mariners Bring In La Stella
Trying to help solidify their roster as they seek a second straight playoff appearance, the Seattle Mariners signed veteran infielder Tommy La Stella to a one-year deal this week. The monetary figures for the deal have yet to be announced.
Last season, with the Giants, the 33-year-old La Stella hit .239/.282/.350 with two home runs, 14 runs batted in, and 17 runs in 180 at-bats. Injuries have plagued La Stella in recent years, but the Mariners are hoping he can serve as a solid bench player that can give some quality innings in the infield for the team.