Pablo López trade choices: Three partners for the Marlins’ suddenly overstocked rotation

The Miami Marlins made a notable addition on Tuesday, signing veteran right-hander Johnny Cueto to a one-year contract value $8.5 million with a membership possibility. Cueto loved a resurgent 2022, posting a 3.35 ERA and a 3.09 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 25 appearances, however his addition to Miami’s roster is most vital as a result of it ought to precipitate a trade.

Indeed, the Marlins have been trawling the free-agent and trade markets all winter wanting for offensive upgrades. Kim Ng’s foremost bait in her quest for an improved lineup? Starting pitching. The Marlins have the luck of using extra starters than they’ve rotation spots. Rookie supervisor Skip Schumaker might trot out a beginning 5 fronted by reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Sandy Alcantara and Cueto that features some mixture of Pablo López, Jesús Luzardo, Trevor Rogers, Edward Cabrera, and Braxton Garrett. And that is with out contemplating a few of the injured and depth items the Marlins have coming, equivalent to electrical right-hander Eury Pérez, who CBS Sports lately ranked as the sport’s eighth finest prospect.

Presuming that Alcantara, Cueto, and Pérez are staying put, that makes one in every of Miami’s different arms expendable. López, by advantage of being the closest to his free-agent date (he’ll qualify after the 2024 season), would appear to be the almost certainly to go. That he would additionally fetch the most in return would not assist his odds of sticking round. Originally acquired as a part of the David Phelps trade of 2017 (do not forget that blockbuster?), López has established himself over elements of the final 5 seasons as an above-average big-league starter, amassing a 3.94 ERA and a 3.44 strikeout-to- stroll ratio in additional than 500 innings.

So, that is it why somebody like López is likely to be on the transfer, however the place would possibly he be headed? Let’s break down three groups who would make sense as suitors.

The Twins stole headlines from Cueto and the Marlins on Tuesday by buying AJ Alexy from the Washington Nationals. (They additionally, um, signed Carlos Correa to a long-term deal.) Even earlier than Minnesota linked again up with Correa, they had been poised to make a trade to alleviate a congested outfield and enhance a missing pitching workers. Max Kepler’s title has surfaced in rumors for good cause, though the Marlins might desire an outfielder with larger remaining group management; they could discover Alex Kirilloff or Trevor Larnach extra interesting in that respect. Batting champion Luis Arraez would definitely match the Marlins’ contact-first acquisition technique, however it’s unclear if the Twins would make such a transfer. Royce Lewis, the No. 1 decide in the 2017 draft, has had two consecutive seasons finish due to a torn ACL. In idea, he would symbolize an attention-grabbing gamble for the Marlins. Given what number of potential mixtures we have thrown on the market on this paragraph, it appears solely truthful to jot down that the Twins are most likely the Marlins’ most sensible trade companion on this entrance.

If not the Twins, then how about the Brewers? Matt Arnold, who took over the reins from David Stearns as Milwaukee’s lead determination maker earlier this winter, has gotten snug executing offers. He’s acquired William Contreras, Jesse Winker, Abraham Toro, Javy Guerra, and Bryse Wilson in swaps — and people are simply the gamers he is added who’re projected to make the Opening Day roster. The Brewers have a glut of younger outfielders who’re both large league-ready or near it and who would make sense as trade candidates, together with Garrett Mitchell, Sal Frelick, and Joey Weimer. That would not embody sensible teenager Jackson Chourio, the sport’s No. 4 prospect, who might pressure his manner into the combine earlier than he turns 20. The catch is Milwaukee seems to have 5 competent beginning pitchers in place following their latest cope with Wade Miley. It by no means hurts so as to add one other good arm, nonetheless, particularly not when two of the 5 (Miley and Freddy Peralta) missed important time final season due to damage.

How’s this for a darkish horse group? There’s little to no indication that the Royals below new high govt JJ Picollo are able to make the form of win-now maneuver that getting López (or whomever) would qualify as, however let’s blue-sky all of it the similar. We famous previous to the offseason that the Royals have already got the elements for a top quality younger lineup in place; all they wanted to maneuver into competition, in our previous estimation, was some high quality beginning pitching. Picollo has since signed Jordan Lyles and Ryan Yarbrough this winter, that means that each one they want now to make the bounce is, nicely, some high quality beginning pitching. The Royals would seem to have extra worthwhile younger hitters than they’ll probably begin, suggesting the time will come when Picollo has to make a transfer. For now, he’ll most likely wait and see.

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