Trade Update: Minnesota Twins Acquire Three Pitchers, Including All-Star Closer
The Minnesota Twins have had an overall successful 2022 season thus far as they currently sit in first-place in the American League Central Division. However, the team is just less than 10 games over .500 and they've struggled against stronger competition. A lot of those struggles have been due to pitching woes, especially in the bullpen.
The big question as the MLB trade deadline approached was whether the front office believed this young Twins team was a player or two away from making a run into the playoffs in 2022, or if they were still a year away from actually being able to seriously compete with the likes of the New York Yankees and Houston Astros.
The Twins front office answered that question on Tuesday. The Twins announced that they have acquired American League All-Star closer Jorge López from the Baltimore Orioles.
The 29-year-old López assumed the the full-time closer role for Baltimore for the first time in his seven-year career just this season and the results he's enjoyed will be a welcome addition to the Twins' bullpen.
López has earned 19 saves in 23 opportunities this season with a 1.68 ERA, a 4-6 record and 54 strikeouts in 48⅓ innings pitched.
The Twins managed to get López without having to trade away any of their top-ranked prospects. The Twins sent four minor league pitchers to Baltimore: Yennier Cano, who has pitched for the Twins this season and currently has an ERA over 9, 2021 third-round draft pick Cade Povich, and righthander Juan Nuñez and lefthander Juan Rojas, who play in the rookie league.
Another advantage to this trade is that López be with the Twins beyond this season. He was arbitration-eligible for the first time this season, meaning he won't be a free agent until after the 2024 season.
The MLB trade deadline is 5:00 p.m. CST Tuesday and there are still rumors that the Twins are working to secure another starting pitcher. If they can pull that off without losing top prospects, or young players already contributing, then today will be a big win.
**UPDATE 1: Just ahead of the Tuesday's Trade Deadline, the Twins did secure a starting pitcher.
MLB.com is reporting Minnesota acquired right-hander Tyler Mahle from the Cincinnati Reds. To complete the trade, the Twins did have to part ways with some coveted prospects:
The deal sends a trio of highly regarded prospects to Cincinnati: 2B/3B Spencer Steer (Twins' No. 7 prospect, per MLB Pipeline), left-hander Steve Hajjar (Twins' No. 18) and corner infielder Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Twins' No. 23).
**UPDATE 2: The Twins managed to acquire another solid veteran relief pitcher to bolster the bullpen. While the Tigers were at Target Field, the two teams completed a mid-series deal that sent Tiger's RHP RHP Michael Fulmer to the Twins in exchange for Twin's pitching prospect Sawyer Gipson-Long.
These three moves definitely improve what had been a struggling pitching staff and while it may not put the Twins on the level of the Yankees and Astros, it does give them a fighting chance to win the AL Central Division.
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