Miami Marlins finalizing deal to trade two-time batting champion Luis Arraez to Padres

The Miami Marlins are moving on from Luis Arraez, with the club planning to trade the two-time batting champion second baseman to the San Diego Padres for three prospects and a relief pitcher, a source confirmed to the Miami Herald on Friday night.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan first reported the news of the trade, which is not yet finalized.

The players Miami is receiving in return: outfielder prospect Dillon Head, outfielder prospect Jakob Marsee, first baseman prospect Nathan Martorella and right-handed pitcher Woo Suk-Go.

Head is listed as the Padres’ No. 6 overall prospect by MLB Pipeline, Marsee is ninth and Martorella is 13th.

The news broke shortly before the Marlins’ 3-1 loss to the Oakland Athletics to begin a three-game road series. Arraez was initially in the lineup leading off and playing second base but was removed before first pitch.

“Arraez is one of our leaders that clubhouse and a great teammate,” Marlins manager Skip Schumaker told reporters postgame. “I think it’s human nature that there’s an initial shock value when that happens, but again, nothing’s official, but when he gets pulled out of a 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’s goes away in a couple of days or tomorrow or whatever it is because we know it’s business and you’re paid to come here and win games and be professional. 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.”

The Marlins acquired Arraez ahead of the 2023 season from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for right-handed pitcher Pablo Lopez and a pair of prospects. Arraez went on to be an All-Star and win the batting title that year — making him the first player to win a batting title in different leagues in consecutive seasons.

Arraez entered Friday hitting .299 with a .719 on-base-plus-slugging mark, eight doubles, five RBI and 22 runs scored in 33 games. He is under team control through the 2025 season.

And there’s no reason to believe the Marlins are going to stop with just Arraez, who had wanted to stay in Miami but never received an extension offer.

The decision for the Marlins to begin moving on from top players near the end of their deals was bound to happen at some point this season. Miami is now 9-25 after Friday’s loss. Before the Marlins’ series sweep of the Colorado Rockies, they had lost eight of their first nine series of the season, split the one they didn’t win and had not won consecutive games.

Marlins first-year president of baseball operations Peter Bendix has repeatedly noted his priority to balance looking at both the short- and long-term success of the franchise.

“It’s a constant thing that we’re always thinking about,” Bendix told reporters Sunday, “and I think with the record that we have right now, it perhaps changes decisions compared to a different record. But there’s also nothing that’s set in stone at this point, and we’re really thinking about that every day.”

Five days after making that comment, Bendix found himself finalizing a deal to ship away one of his team’s marquee players — a move that signals the Marlins are indeed looking toward the future.

None of the four players Miami is receiving in the trade has played above the Double A level in the minor leagues. Head, the No. 25 overall pick in the 2023 MLB Draft and the center piece of the deal, is playing in Single A.

The scouting reports of the three ranked prospects, as given by MLB Pipeline:

Head: “The 6-foot outfielder instantly became one of the fastest runners in the entire San Diego organization with the elite speed he’s able to use all over the diamond. Those wheels make him an impressive defender in center with gap-to-gap coverage, and he’s able to gather good momentum to generate above-average arm strength when he needs a cannon. Head should be a stolen-base threat too, and can also turn infield grounders into base knocks with the way he fires out of the left-handed batter’s box.

“That’s good news because Head’s power remains the biggest question about his game. While he looked stronger at the dish in front of scouts in his Draft spring, he put the ball on the ground at a 56.6 percent clip in his small pro sample. Entering his age-19 season, Head has plenty of time to develop more in-game power and could get to 12-15 homers in time while he lets the rest of his game provide plenty of flash.”

Marsee: He “thrives on making opposing pitchers throw strikes. He doesn’t chase much at all, and when he does swing out of a coiled left-handed stance, it’s with intent to make contact. To wit, he missed on only five of his 56 swings against fastballs at Double-A. But because of that approach, his exit velocities far from pop off the analytics sheet, and he’s at his best as a hitter when he’s smacking line drives back up the middle rather than aiming for power. That puts some pressure on the walks to pile up and fuel his slash line, and such an approach may be challenged against tougher arms.

“Marsee plays with a ton of energy though, and he’s always willing to test opposing defenses with his above-average speed, as shown by his 46 steals in the regular season and 16 more in the [Arizona Fall League]. Evaluators remain divided on his defense in center. Some see his all-out approach as a plus. Some believe he’ll be closer to passable in bigger Major League parks. He could be a potential high-OBP regular with more development or a valuable left-handed fourth outfielder.”

Martorella: “His coaches and managers wanted him playing every day because of his inclination to work counts, success against pitchers from both sides and strength to shoot for at least average in-game power. His simple setup at the plate can lead to high ground-ball rates (45.4 percent in ’23), so a little more elevation could unlock even more pop. ... He still projects best at first base because of his lack of speed. His good OBP profile, 15-20 homer potential and success against same side arms could make him a solid regular at the position.”