MLB trade deadline: Twins acquire All-Star closer Jorge Lopez from Orioles

Tue, Aug 2, 2022
MLB News (AP)

MLB trade deadline: Twins acquire All-Star closer Jorge Lopez from Orioles

The Minnesota Twins have agreed to a five-player trade with the'Baltimore Orioles for closer Jorge Lopez. per multiple reports. The Orioles will receive four players in return: left-handers Cade Povich and Juan Rojas and right-handers Yennier Cano and Juan Nunez, the teams announced Tuesday, hours before the 2022 MLB trade deadline.

Lopez, 29 years old, recently made his first career All-Star Game in the midst of a breakout season. In 44 games with the Orioles, he has posted a 1.68 ERA (241 ERA+) and a 3.18 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Those are remarkable improvements over his career marks entering this season, when he had amassed a 6.04 ERA (76 ERA+) and a 2.15 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 102 games with three other organizations.

Lopez's improved performance has been accompanied by a number of other changes to his game. Not only is he throwing his sinker harder this season, with its average velocity up from 95 mph to 98 mph, he's also throwing the pitch more frequently. Indeed, his 50 percent usage rate this season would mark a new career-high.

Clearly the Twins are believers in Lopez sustaining those gains. They'll have him under team control for an additional two seasons, too, meaning this could be more than the typical deadline rental situation.

In return for Lopez, the Orioles netted four pitchers.

Povich, 22, was the Twins' third-round pick in 2021. He's amassed a 4.46 ERA and a 4.12 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 16 starts in High-A this season. Povich was ranked as the Twins' 21st-best prospect by Baseball America. They noted that he has a projectable frame and a four-pitch mix.

Cano, 28, made his big-league debut earlier this season. In 10 outings in the majors, he struck out more than a batter per inning. He also issued 11 walks in 13 frames. Cano throws a mid-90s sinker, an upper-80s slider, and a 90 mph changeup from a low three-quarters release point.

Nunez, 21, has made eight appearances in complex ball this season. He has a 4.85 ERA and a 4.70 strikeout-to-walk ratio to show for his troubles. He was not ranked by Baseball America as one of the top 30 prospects in the Twins system.

Rojas, 18, has also made eight appearances in complex ball. He has a 3.60 ERA and a 9.50 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He too did not make the cut for Baseball America's top 30 rankings.

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