What Arraez takes pride in following strong '23

November 13th, 2023

This story was excerpted from Christina De Nicola’s Marlins Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

NL batting champion. NL Silver Slugger Award winner. The NL's starting second baseman at the All-Star Game. The first cycle in club history.

's first season in a Marlins uniform was a memorable one, but the accolades aren't what he's most proud of when looking back on 2023.

"My body, because I stayed healthy," said Arraez, who played in a career-high 147 games. "The bad thing is my last month I hurt my ankle, but my body's reaction, a lot of good things. I play hard every day -- everybody knows that. I do a lot of good things. I improved on my defense, especially winning another batting title, and I proved my defense this year."

There were concerns about whether Arraez could handle second base on a full-time basis when the Marlins acquired him, but he quickly put the organization at ease by recording four defensive runs saved. And despite a left ankle sprain limiting him over the season's final two weeks, he still became the first player to win back-to-back Silver Slugger Awards in different leagues since Mookie Betts in 2019-20. Arraez is the third Marlins second baseman to receive the honor, joining Dee Strange-Gordon ('15) and Dan Uggla ('10), and the first Miami player overall since catcher J.T. Realmuto ('18).

The 26-year-old Arraez led all NL second basemen in average (.354), hits (203), on-base percentage (.393) and OPS (.862). He also set career highs for homers (10) and RBIs (69). His aWAR (average of fWAR and bWAR) ranked fifth among NL second basemen.

Since the offseason began, Arraez has been getting massages and working on his mobility as part of the rehab for his ankle, which he said was around 30-40 percent during the NL Wild Card Series. Arraez feels better, and he recently hit in the Dominican Republic while celebrating mentor Nelson Cruz's retirement.

Would Arraez be open to an extension fresh off a career season? He is under club control for two more years. Arraez has yet to speak with new president of baseball operations Peter Bendix, who was formally introduced on Monday at loanDepot park.

"They don't offer me yet, but I'm available to hear that," Arraez told reporters on Zoom. "If they want to talk to me about my extension, I'm available, because I love Miami. I love the coaching staff. I love my teammates. I feel at home when I play with those guys, and then let's see what happens."