The Miami Marlins and Minnesota Twins pulled off a blockbuster trade Friday that kinda, sorta has indirect implications for the Boston Red Sox.
The Twins traded infielder Luis Arraez to the Marlins for starting pitcher Pablo López, infield prospect Jose Salas and outfield prospect Byron Chourio, according to announcements from both clubs.
It had been rumored that Miami was shopping several starting pitchers, including López, as the organization possessed enviable rotation depth, especially after signing veteran right-hander Johnny Cueto in free agency. As such, it was fair to wonder whether the Red Sox would contact the Marlins while trying to boost their pitching staff for the 2023 season and beyond.
The Red Sox recently added Corey Kluber to a rotation that figures to consist of some combination of Chris Sale, James Paxton, Nick Pivetta, Garrett Whitlock and Brayan Bello. Tanner Houck is capable of starting, as well, although it appears he’s headed for a bullpen role after a strong 2022 as a reliever.
Boston lost two starters — Nathan Eovaldi (Texas Rangers) and Rich Hill (Pittsburgh Pirates) — in free agency, and Michael Wacha remains unsigned on the open market. The Red Sox seemingly have the depth to weather those departures, if everything clicks, but there’s also a lot of uncertainty surrounding the group currently assembled in Boston. Trading for López represented one possible avenue for improving the rotation with a legitimate impact arm. And now, he’s no longer an option.
It’s hard to say whether this is a missed opportunity for the Red Sox, as we don’t know whether they ever strongly considered dipping into the Marlins’ starting pitching surplus. But if they did, watching López go from Miami to an American League opponent stings, to some extent. Not only could López boost Minnesota — a possible wild-card threat — thereby marginally hurting Boston’s playoff chances. His trade also presumably decreases the likelihood of the Marlins trading Jesús Luzardo, Trevor Rogers and/or Edward Cabrera — Miami’s other starters rumored to be available — and they, too, represented possible avenues for the Red Sox to improve their own rotation.
All told, the Marlins-Twins trade is fascinating. López, who’s under contract for two more years, is a very good starter, while Arraez, who’s under club control for three more years, is the reigning AL batting champion after an All-Star campaign in 2022.