The Seattle Mariners began to work on improving their infield by trading for Adam Frazier, and that was a good place to start. They still need to add to it to legitimately compete for the playoffs in 2022. Right now, Abraham Toro would be the starting third baseman for the M’s, but he is not a sure thing yet. One way to improve the infield is by calling the Minnesota Twins and acquiring one of their infielders, Luis Arraez, who would make a lot of sense for the Mariners.
Luis Arraez is a contact hitting infielder who can play second base, third base, and even some left field. Mariners fans have seen their fair share of soft-hitting infielders who can play these positions, such as Shed Long Jr., Donnie Walton, and Sam Haggerty. All three of those players were disappointing, but Arraez is actually solid defensively at all three spots; he was worth 2 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) at second base, 5 at third base, and 3 in left field.
On top of his good defense, Luis Arraez is a very good hitter. In 2021, he had a .294 batting average and a .357 on-base percentage, but only a .376 slugging percentage. Arraez does not have much power, but he does have great on-base and contact skills, and actually had similar batting average and on-base numbers as Ty France in 2021.
One of the things Arraez does incredibly well is dominate the zone, which Jerry Dipoto loves. Arraez is at the top of the scale in whiff percentage, strikeout rate, and chase rate. He strikes out only 10% of the time, and walks just below that at 9%. He swings the bat a lot, and does not miss hardly ever, but this does result in lots of weaker contact than other hitters.
So Luis Arraez is a quality player that would make sense for the Mariners, but what would the cost be?
The Minnesota Twins had an awful season last year, and it is expected that they will sell off at least some pieces this offseason. Looking at their current depth chart, the Twins have a desperate need for starting pitching. Luckily, the Mariners have plenty of young starting pitchers on the way, and they can send a pitching-centric package to Minnesota in return for four years of Arraez.
The reason that this trade proposal makes sense for the Twins is because they get three potential starting pitchers, and they all should make the big leagues at different times. The Twins could currently use Justin Dunn in their rotation, which is projected to be led by Dylan Bundy (who had a 6.06 ERA last year). Levi Stoudt, the highlight of this deal, is one of the Mariners’ best pitching prospects, and he should be ready for the big leagues soon. He had a very strong year last year, posting a 3.31 ERA in 81.2 innings between A+ and AA.
Next up in the package is Isaiah Campbell, who was taken with the 76th overall pick in 2019 after having a sub 2.13 ERA in almost 120 innings in the SEC. After the MiLB-less 2020 season, he finally pitched 19.1 innings in 2021 for High-A Everett.
The reason that this deal works is because the Twins need a lot of pitching, and the Mariners have it. The Mariners would be sending three pitchers who all have legit potential to make it to the big leagues as starters, but none of them are front of the rotation arms most likely. The Twins are getting more bites at the apple, but each individual player is probably not a superstar. Stoudt is the best of the group, but his ceiling likely isn’t at the top of a rotation.
The Mariners give up a lot of depth from their system, but the price for Luis Arraez is not going to be cheap. Stoudt is a very quality depth piece, Dunn is a plug-and-play starting pitcher, and Campbell was a quality pitcher when he was in the most competitive environment in college baseball. The swap is more of a bulk deal, but the M’s and Twins could be an interesting match.