Luis Arraez commerce: Marlins shuffle infield, transfer Jazz Chisholm Jr. to middle

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The Miami Marlins obtained infielder Luis Arraez from the Minnesota Twins on Friday as part of a four-player swap that exported veteran starting pitcher Pablo López and top infield prospect Jose Salas (as well as an intriguing young outfield prospect). A natural response to the trade was to wonder just how, precisely, the Marlins intended to deploy their collection of infielders. Thankfully, general manager Kim Ng supplied some insight into their plans, and here’s a teaser: they entail moving Jazz Chisholm Jr. to center field.

You that correctly. Chisholm, who has never played an inning in the outfield as a professional, was one of the two potential internal choices to take over at shortstop following a recent trade that sent Miguel Rojas Jr. to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The other candidate, Joey Wendle, appears to have won the job by default. Elsewhere on the infield, Ng said that the newly acquired Arraez is likely to see most of his action at second base, and that free-agent signee Jean Segura will take over at third base. 

It’s worth noting that all of the aforementioned players — Chisholm, Wendle, Arraez, and Segura — will be playing new primary positions in 2023 as compared to their assignments last season. To wit, Arraez’s primary position in 2022 was first base; Chisholm and Segura’s was second; and Wendle’s was third. The Marlins are banking on those players being skilled adapters. 

Chisholm, for his part, seems to have an enviable attitude about the whole changing positions thing. Craig Mish tweeted that the new outfielder told him his plans were to “go out, play the position and win a Gold Glove.” That last part may prove to be overzealous, but it’s preferable to taking a grim outlook. 

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Of course, the real question for the Marlins is whether the trade-offs they’ll be making defensively are worth the gains they hope to achieve offensively. It’s too soon to say for sure; at minimum, it’s fair to declare that they’ll face quite the uphill battle in trying to usurp the New York Mets, Atlanta Braves, or Philadelphia Phillies in the National League East hierarchy.