When the Minnesota Twins traded All-Star slugger and fan-favorite Luis Arraez back in January, it was a hard pill to swallow. In return the team landed Pablo Lopez, someone who the front office was hoping could not only bolster the starting rotation but be the ace anchor the franchise has long needed.
That's a tall order, and the jury remains out on the longevity of Lopez's success in Minnesota, but the early returns couldn't be better or more encouraging.
In fact, things have gone so well that the team gave Lopez a $73.5 million contract extension for just a four-game sample size. Lopez is 1-1 in those four appearances, but if you look at what he's done on the mound in those starts you'd think he'd have a 4-0 record.
Lopez was listed as a dark horse Cy Young candidate before the season, but through four games it's starting to look like his chances might be better than even those lofty expectations before the year.
Pablo Lopez had the perfect comment after signing contract extension with Twins
Not only is Lopez locked in for the next four seasons, he sounds like he's already completely bought into being a core piece of a winning culture.
After the ink dried on his massive contract extension, Lopez sent a message to Twins Territory that will have fans ready to run through more walls than the Kool-Aid man for him.
"We’re looking to build a dynasty and now I’m going to be a part of that," Lopez said. "I’m going to commit myself 100 percent to that every day to be the best version of myself, be better than I was five days ago."
Let's absolutely go.
To be fair, Twins fans were already willing to do almost anything for Lopez before he dropped that little diddy. He's been absolutely phenomenal for Minnesota this season, posting a 1.74 ERA with over 30 strikeouts and only five earned runs in four starts.
It's still early, but it's hard to find a single thing to dislike about what Lopez is doing. Look no further than Lopez striking out 10 batters and sending down 23 White Sox in a row on the same night that Luis Arraez hit for the cycle. That right there not only highlights how much of a win-win the trade was but that Lopez is providing more to this team than Arraez could, which is no knock against him.
Pitching has always been an achilles heel for the Twins, but with Lopez it feels like they've finally found an ace. Locking up him through the 2027 season pairs him with Joe Ryan for the entire duration of his contract being under club control, giving the Twins the one-two pitching punch they've been looking for all these years.