The Minnesota Twins took advantage to trade the reliever for 21-year-old pitching prospect Hunter McMahon on Wednesday.
The Minnesota Twins made a move to acquire a pitcher on Wednesday, but it wasn’t the big splash that some fans are still hoping for. Instead, the Twins made the best of a bad situation as they traded Ryne Harper to the Washington Nationals for pitching prospect Hunter McMahon.
Harper was a mainstay in the Twins bullpen last season, making his long-awaited MLB debut and posting solid numbers going 4-2 with a 3.81 ERA. However, the 30-year-old became expendable with the Twins adding Tyler Clippard and rookie phenom Brusdar Graterol to the mix, and the Twins designated him for assignment last week to clear a roster spot for Josh Donaldson.
In exchange for Harper, the Twins get McMahon, who performed well in his first half-season of baseball after being selected by the Nationals in the ninth round in last summer’s MLB Draft. The right-hander didn’t post eye-popping stats at Texas State but impressed once he got into the Nationals organization, throwing 4 2/3 scoreless innings in two appearances in the Gulf Coast League.
McMahon doubled down when promoted to Low-A Auburn, making seven appearances allowing one earned run in eight innings and recording an eye-popping 15.8 K/9 rate.
The 21-year-old isn’t a top prospect in the Nationals organization, but he represents the profile of prospects the Twins target in these types of deals. For example, the Twins pulled a similar deal in 2018 when they sent Eduardo Escobar to Arizona for a little known A-ball prospect named Jhoan Duran, who is now a Top 100 prospect per Baseball America.
It will take some time before we know what the Twins have in McMahon, but the risk is worth taking for a player they were going to lose anyway.