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Trade Target Tracker: RHP Pablo López


Trade season is fast approaching. The Twins have only eight more games until the deadline, and it’s imperative they improve the club if they want to find success in the second half and into the postseason. 

 

This five-point scoring system is built on five factors: player, projection, availability, expected cost, and viability: a higher score = a better target for the Twins.

THE FIVE FACTORS
PLAYER: How has the player performed? How much of a difference would they make for the Twins?
PROJECTION: Is there upside with this player? Is there team control beyond this year? Are there injury concerns?
AVAILABILITY: Is the player actually on the trade block?
EXPECTED COST: What will it take to acquire this player, in prospect capital and dollars?
VIABILITY: What’s the leaguewide desire for this player? Would the Twins have a chance in a bidding war?

We start with RHP Pablo López, a standout starter for the Miami Marlins. 

PLAYER
López, 26, has been tremendous over the last two seasons, posting a 2.96 ERA in 38 starts for the Marlins. Among 78 starters who’ve thrown at least 200 innings since 2021, López ranks 17th in ERA, 20th in xFIP (3.44), 22nd in FIP (3.47), and 29th in opponent OPS (.666). 

López throws five pitches but relies primarily on his four-seamer (38%) and changeup (37%) to get outs. His fastball isn’t overly firm, averaging just under 93 mph with below-average spin. López’s profile looks a lot like Chris Paddack’s; Average-ish fastball, good changeup, weaker breaking ball. 

A 13.3% swinging-strike rate places López 10th among qualified starters this year, ahead of Zack Wheeler (12.1%), Justin Verlander (11.5%), and Joe Musgrove (11.4%). Opponents swing at 36% of López's pitches out of the zone, a higher rate than aces Gerrit Cole (35.8%) and Shane McClanahan (35.5%), and on-par with 2021 AL Cy Young winner Robbie Ray. 

PLAYER SCORE: 4

PROJECTION
If the Twins choose to part with high-end prospects, you’d think they want more than a rental in return. López isn’t a free agent until after the 2024 campaign, taking him through his age-28 season. His peripherals, specifically an expected ERA of 3.84 this season, match his less-than-spectacular stuff. 

While López has performed at a high level over the last two years, his health hasn’t been particularly great. He’s dealt with numerous shoulder problems, and his career-high workload was in 2019 when he threw 111 ⅓ innings. He’s already at 104 this year, so maybe he’s sidestepped the injury bug for now. 

PROJECTION: 3

AVAILABILITY
The Marlins are 43-48, 14 games back in the NL East, and 5.5 games back of the third and final wild-card spot. They’re unlikely to make the playoffs despite a top-10 rotation in MLB by ERA (3.62). The offense is weak, and their division is quietly tough. 

Miami doesn’t *need* to trade López now, as he’s under cheap team control for two more full seasons. This might be the best time to move him, though, as he’s healthy and thriving. It’s hard to pinpoint their desire to sell the young right-hander. 

AVAILABILITY: 2

EXPECTED COST
Trading López now would be a prime example of selling high. Given his performance and contract, it would likely take a significant package to pry him away. Teams are often reluctant to trade strong, controllable starting pitchers. 

Per MLB Trade Simulators, López’s median value is 45.7, the fifth-highest on the Marlins. Miami needs young bats, and the simulator says a package of Trevor Larnach and Spencer Steer would suffice. Is that a price you’d be willing to pay? 

EXPECTED COST: 2

VIABILITY
It feels like contenders will lock in on the top of the market, for starters known to be available in Luis Castillo and Frankie Montas. A deal for López could fly below the radar, much like the Twins’ trade for Kenta Maeda in February 2020. 

If the Marlins make López available, there’s no doubt many clubs will be interested. It’s also possible teams will be scared off by his injury history and pricetag, allowing the Twins to take advantage. 

VIABILITY: 3

OVERALL SCORE: 14

López looks like someone this Twins regime may target. He’s an under-the-radar trade candidate with one outstanding pitch (changeup), may have fewer suitors because of his injury history, and there’s room for growth with his breaking ball. However, the Marlins don’t have to trade him; if they do, he may cost just as much as Frankie Montas or Tyler Mahle. 

What do you think about Pablo López? Comment below!


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Any pitcher who has never thrown more than 111 innings prior to this year, and has had injury issues in the past would fit right in with this organization.  :)  

As for cost, a corner outfielder and a utility type infielder who is only hitting .250ish in AAA wouldn't be outlandish at all if that is what Miami would take.  And in terms of dollars we should be able to handle his contract, so I don't see why we wouldn't at least explore it, injury issues not withstanding.  Get a medical report and, if it is good, make an offer.

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Paddock had an injury history. Dyson had an injury history. I hope we avoid dealing good prospects in the hopes of no more injuries to pitchers with an injury history. Maeda quite different and bum luck. He had no injury history that I remember. I do agree the Marlins are the right team to deal with as well as the Reds.

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Top Miami players Twins should target -- Max Myer, Lopez and either Eury  Perez or Steven Okert. Trading any three of those pitchers for Trevor Larnach, Spencer Steer and either Celestino, Sano, Gordon, Urshela, Ober or Winder would improve our competitiveness now and in the future.  Would also considering picking up all or a portion of Sano's salary, if needed.

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I think the Twins would need to include a pitcher in the deal. The only pitcher currently in the minors with significant value (according to BTV) is Winder. If the Twins package Larnach and Winder and add Strotman it is a competitive deal. In order to win the deal they would need to upgrade the Strotman piece.

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Interesting article in today's STrib.  Talked about three possible plans by the FO going into the deadline.  One, fine tuning which basically means adding a reliever, or two.  Second, all in which would also add a top level starting pitcher, plus a couple relievers.  Third option would be to sell, including trading Correa should he confirm he is opting out.

Personally, think the article is right on and the first option will be what the Twins choose.  They probably aren't a strong contender for winning anything come year-end, thus, spending a lot of capital to go all in doesn't make sense.  Better to fine tune and add for next year and beyond, when they could be very good.  Trading Correa probably isn't a good decision as it would be a terrible signal to the team and fans/ticket sales over the next two months.

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I don't really see Miami parting with a great starter that still has 2 full years left.  They could find a corner outfielder of Larnach's caliber much easier than replacing Lopez.  They want to be competitive next season and I believe Lopez would be a big part of that.  I think odds are better of them finding an extension for Lopez in the next 2.5 years instead of trading him.  I could see him getting a deal similar to what they gave Sandy Alcantara last offseason, buy out the arb years and get 2-3 additional years.

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Good approach to evaluating potential trades.  I am leery of pitchers who lack the most important ability--durability.  While Montas and Castillo have had a few problems this year as well, they do not have quite the injury history that Lopez does.  My concern for the Twins is that what they really need is a true number 1.  I am not sure Lopez qualifies and in my opinion is not worth the risk associated with his injury problems.  I would prefer Castillo or Montas though the price may be higher.  I would like Castillo/Montas, Gray, Ryan, Paddack, Maeda, Ober, and Winder as a starting options next year.  

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57 minutes ago, jorgenswest said:

 In order to win the deal they would need to upgrade the Strotman piece.

Why does it always come around to "winning" a trade??  Like a team is trying to pull some sneaky ninja trick attack in the middle of the night or storm the enemy team's village and carry off all their women and livestock (Conan... what is best in life?)?

My intent isn't to be or come across as snarky.  Just more curious than anything why we as fans and the talking head media keep saying, Team X really "won" that trade?

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1 hour ago, Twins reserve said:

Top Miami players Twins should target -- Max Myer, Lopez and either Eury  Perez or Steven Okert. Trading any three of those pitchers for Trevor Larnach, Spencer Steer and either Celestino, Sano, Gordon, Urshela, Ober or Winder would improve our competitiveness now and in the future.  Would also considering picking up all or a portion of Sano's salary, if needed.

Is this Satire or a joke? Here let me have your super studs and I will give you my garbage (Gordon, Celestino, Urshela and Sano might get you Okert, if the Twins picked up all the Salary of Sano and Urshela), Larnach, Steer and Ober/Winder might get you Lopez.

To trade for Meyer would cost something like Martin, Ober/Winder and SWR at minimum. To get Perez would cost something like Lewis, Larnach, Canterino and the Ober/Winder.

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52 minutes ago, MN_ExPat said:

Why does it always come around to "winning" a trade??  Like a team is trying to pull some sneaky ninja trick attack in the middle of the night or storm the enemy team's village and carry off all their women and livestock (Conan... what is best in life?)?

My intent isn't to be or come across as snarky.  Just more curious than anything why we as fans and the talking head media keep saying, Team X really "won" that trade?

The Twins are competing with the Yankees, Astros and so on for the same players. BTV grades out the trade I posted as a fair deal. In order to beat other offers and win the deal they may need to overpay by upgrading the Strotman part of the deal.

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Lopez looks like a tough target to me - high cost, high risk. If you believe Baseball Trade Values, Larnach and Canterino gets you Montas and Puk from Oakland or Castillo from Cincinnati and we keep Steer. Larnach and Steer for Lopez is also about right. It's also much more likely that we can get a "fair" deal wiht Oakland or Cincinnati since they are likely to trade those starters with 1.5 year of control than from Miami trading a high end starter with multiple years of control. Plus, Montas and Castillo are both better than Lopez although controllable for less time. Given those assumed choices, I would much rather make a deal for Montas or Castillo. I think Lopez is too risky and out of our price range.   

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1 hour ago, roger said:

Interesting article in today's STrib.  Talked about three possible plans by the FO going into the deadline.  One, fine tuning which basically means adding a reliever, or two.  Second, all in which would also add a top level starting pitcher, plus a couple relievers.  Third option would be to sell, including trading Correa should he confirm he is opting out.

Personally, think the article is right on and the first option will be what the Twins choose.  They probably aren't a strong contender for winning anything come year-end, thus, spending a lot of capital to go all in doesn't make sense.  Better to fine tune and add for next year and beyond, when they could be very good.  Trading Correa probably isn't a good decision as it would be a terrible signal to the team and fans/ticket sales over the next two months.

Could not agree with this more!  I think the FO is developing a strong team, but I also think there is very little chance of success in the playoffs this year even if we make it.

We do have a 40 man crunch coming though. I would advocate only for deals that clear 40 man space and acquire MLB pitching with at least 1.5 years control because next year would be the earliest that 'the window' could reopen. 

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9 minutes ago, D.C Twins said:

Could not agree with this more!  I think the FO is developing a strong team, but I also think there is very little chance of success in the playoffs this year even if we make it.

We do have a 40 man crunch coming though. I would advocate only for deals that clear 40 man space and acquire MLB pitching with at least 1.5 years control because next year would be the earliest that 'the window' could reopen. 

Really like how you think, D.C.

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Ah, NO. Its all about the bullpen. These days hardly any starters go more than 5 innings. Especially the Twins.

We have plenty of starters who keep us in the game through 5, thats were the swing & miss flamethrowers that trams like the Yankees, Houston, Dodgers, Padres have come in and win the game.

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Curious to hear about those starters that keep us in the game through 5, because we've been down and into the 'pen by the 4th A LOT lately. (The least talented of the bunch is Bundy, and he is the one pitching with the most guts lately.)

This team needs a top starter to compete in the playoffs, we don't need anything to compete for a division title and early exit. Winder is currently your third best starter on the MLB team (even if he IS in the minors), and if you trade him for another #3 along with some top prospects, that is a staight lose-lose.

And FYI, don't sweat the 40-man until post-season. I just looked at it, and between players who are leaving (like Correa) and players whose contracts will be up, and players not good enough to sweat getting taken, and players you wish would get taken, I count 18 players on the 40-man the Twins could skip protecting right now. That should clear plenty of space for those who will need protection come December.

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I think Lopez is a good choice. MIA is very strong in their rotation and they have very good SPs like Sanchez & Meyer coming up. Where MIA is weak is their line up. They are on the bubble so they could be serious about competing. They might consider Kepler & Theilbar together with Steer. Then we'll have be serious about getting more high leverage relievers.

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1 hour ago, D.C Twins said:

Could not agree with this more!  I think the FO is developing a strong team, but I also think there is very little chance of success in the playoffs this year even if we make it.

We do have a 40 man crunch coming though. I would advocate only for deals that clear 40 man space and acquire MLB pitching with at least 1.5 years control because next year would be the earliest that 'the window' could reopen. 

Can we win in the playoffs if we acquire Castillo, Thor (not expensive), 2 strong relievers, perhaps one a rental, Binentendi for LF or Contreras for #1 C? Don’t forget expiring contracts are much less expensive.

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I don't think the trade calculators are capable of valuing a potential future trade properly.  For instance, Miami does not need to trade Lopez.  There is no urgency for that.  Larnach and Steer may seem like an even trade to the calculators but does that trade value convince Miami to sell someone that they have no reason to sell?  I don't think so.  

I think a seller trading a highly regarded player with 2.5 years of cheap control would be reasonable to expect to "win" the trade by a fairly wide margin.  It would take more than Larnach/Steer to get Lopez.

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I would like the trade, but substitute Meyer for Lopez.  We trade good bats for a good arm.  We need the arm, they need the bats. Fair re-allocation of resources for both teams.  All players have years of team control for both squads.

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10 hours ago, TwinsDr2021 said:

Is this Satire or a joke? Here let me have your super studs and I will give you my garbage (Gordon, Celestino, Urshela and Sano might get you Okert, if the Twins picked up all the Salary of Sano and Urshela), Larnach, Steer and Ober/Winder might get you Lopez.

To trade for Meyer would cost something like Martin, Ober/Winder and SWR at minimum. To get Perez would cost something like Lewis, Larnach, Canterino and the Ober/Winder.

 

TwinsDr your probably right, just wishful thinking on my part.  Below is trade simulation from Baseball Trade Values.  I would trade our 6 prospects for these 3 pitchers.  Am I dreaming, most likely?

Meyer RHP 29
Okert LHRP 0.1
Perez RHP 68.8
 
97.9
Name Position MTV ($Ms)
Larnach OF 28
Martin OF 11
Ober SP 15.2
Steer 2B 14
Wallner OF 7.7
Winder SP 16.1

92.0

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On 7/19/2022 at 11:44 AM, jorgenswest said:

The Twins are competing with the Yankees, Astros and so on for the same players. BTV grades out the trade I posted as a fair deal. In order to beat other offers and win the deal they may need to overpay by upgrading the Strotman part of the deal.

In that sense, or context, totally agree. 

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