Minnesota Twins: Grading the Four Trades from the Twins’ Trade Deadline
By Otto Johnson
Minnesota Twins Trade No. 3: Twins land an All-Star Closer
Minnesota Twins Get: RHP Jorge Lopez
The first move the Twins made on the big day was swinging a trade for Orioles closer Jorge Lopez. Lopez spent the first six years of his pro career as a starter and struggled before the Orioles made the call to shift him to relief and he’s dominated. He was the No. 2 reliever on the Top 25 RP Trade Target list.
His fastball velocity is up, his control has improved, and he’s striking out far more batters. His Baseball Savant page reads like a dream, suggesting his numbers as a reliever are legitimate. The Twins better hope so.
Unlike Fulmer, Lopez is far from a rental. The 29-year-old is under contract through 2024, so the Twins need the gains he’s made to be for real. That’s definitely not a bad bet to make on the pitcher whose numbers-ERA (1.68), xERA, (2.99), FIP (2.99), xFIP (3.10), 19 saves, and 54 strikeouts in 48.1 innings-are dominant.
Baltimore Orioles Get: LHP Cade Povich, RHP Yennier Cano, RHP Juan Nuñez, and LHP Juan Rojas
To get Lopez, the Twins had to give a bit of a haul, but it wasn’t an overwhelming one. Cade Povich is our No. 16 prospect and is in the middle of a really strong season at High-A. He’s striking out batters at a 12.2 K/9 rate and looks like he’s establishing himself as a legitimate prospect in his first full year of pro ball.
Povich is the headliner in this deal, but he’s still a 22-year-old third round pick in High-A ball. The rest of the pitchers the Twins sent aren’t all that intriguing. Yennier Cano is killing it at Triple-A after being reinvented as a reliever, but he’s been awful at the MLB level for the Twins.
The other two pitchers are still in the Florida Coast League. Juan Nunez is 21 and doesn’t appear to be much outside of his solid season in 2022. Juan Rojas is 18 and has a little more upside, but still isn’t all that great.
The Twins got an All-Star closer with some risk for two years. It allows Rocco Baldelli to use Jhoan Duran in more than just save situations. For their troubles, all it cost was a pitching prospect with some an upside and three pitching prospects that are unlikely to amount to much. That’s a monumental win. Grade: A.