Phillies' division strengthens after Marlins trade amid new schedule structure

Luis Arraez, formerly of the Minnesota Twins
Luis Arraez, formerly of the Minnesota Twins / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

The Phillies will face the reigning AL batting champion in up to 13 games.

The National League East got even better on Friday, as the Philadelphia Phillies' division-rival Miami Marlins acquired reigning American League batting champion Luis Arráez from the Minnesota Twins.

The Marlins dealt starting pitcher Pablo López and a pair of prospects for Arráez, who slashed .316/.375/.420 last season with 31 doubles, eight home runs and 49 RBI across 144 games. He will primarily play second base alongside fellow Marlins middle infielder Jean Segura — a 2022 National League champion fan-favorite who earlier this month signed a two-year, $17 million contract with a $10 million club option for 2025.

This Marlins trade strengthens the National League East, which added other notable players this offseason — including Sean Murphy (Braves), José Quintana (Mets), Kodai Senga (Mets), Gregory Soto (Phillies), Trea Turner (Phillies), Justin Verlander (Mets), and Taijuan Walker (Phillies), among others.

Luckily for the Phillies, they will not have to play as many games against their National League East opponents due to a new schedule structure starting in the 2023 season.

Teams will play 52 games (13 each) against their division opponents (down from 76, or 19 each). Teams will play 46 interleague games (up from 20 games). Meanwhile, games against other opponents within a team's league slightly decrease, from 66 games to 64.

In other words, the Phillies will not have the face the formidable Mets rotation of Max Scherzer, Verlander, Quintana and Senga — nor go up against their former second baseman Segura
— as much as they would have in past seasons.

Although, among the reasons why the Phillies were able to snap their postseason drought last season was winning 16 of their 19 games against the lowly Washington Nationals. They will have six fewer opportunities to take advantage of a weaker opponent in 2023.