This past offseason brought a lot of change for the Minnesota Twins, but not every move was easy to accept. Luis Arraez was traded to the Miami Marlins back in January, ending his time with the Twins just as he was truly heating up and ripping a fan favorite out of the lineup.
Minnesota acquired Pablo Lopez in exchange for Arraez, as well as top prospect Jose Salas, so it's not as though he was dealt away for no good reason. In the small sample size Twins fans have been given, it seems like the deal was a steal.
Lopez started on Opening Day, throwing 5.1 scoreless innings while allowing just a pair of hits. That start has helped power the Twins to a 3-0 record to begin the year, something that has eased the pain of losing Arraez.
Still, it's not easy to see an old favorite in a new uniform and it made Monday's game against the Marlins that much more emotional.
Luis Arraez has a message for Twins Territory before first game against Minnesota
Arraez spoke to Bally Sports North before the game and sent a message that will warm hearts in Twins Territory as much as it will make fans reach for a box of tissues.
"I still love my guys, I still love Minnesota," Arraez said before the game. "I miss a lot of my guys there, but it's business and not personal."
Arraez was by far the best thing about the Twins last year, going to the All-Star Game in July and finishing the year as the AL Batting Champ. It was widely speculated that he could be moved in the offseason to parlay his great season into helping elsewhere on the roster, and that's exactly what happened.
So, in a way, Arraez's parting gift to Twins fans after such a memorable season was to help the team acquire a pitcher who might lead the rotation as its ace. It's early, but Lopez was already getting dark horse Cy Young love from baseball writers and he's started the year off perfectly.
It's also clear that the love Twins fans feel for Arraez continues to be felt by him as well, making the reunion in Miami on Monday a bittersweet affair.