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Twins Acquire Orioles Closer Jorge Lopez


Trade Deadline Day has begun, and the Twins have made the first move of the day. They have acquired Orioles' closer Jorge Lopez. Lefty starter Cade Povich is heading to the Orioles along with reliever Yennier Cano and two pitches currently in the Complex League. 

Jon Heyman was the first to report that the Twins are acquiring Jorge Lopez from the Orioles. The Twins will send four pitchers including Twins Daily Top 10 prospect Cade Povich, reliever Yennier Cano, and two more pitchers from the low-minors, Juan Rojas and Juan Nunez. 

Prior to this year, Lopez, 29, was a struggling starting pitcher. He debuted with two games with the Brewers in 2015 and then pitched in another 11 games with the Crew between 2017 and 2018. He went to the Royals and pitched in 47 games between 2018 and 2020.

He went to the Orioles in 2020. That year, he posted a 6.34 ERA over 38 1/3 innings in nine games (six starts). In 2021, he went 3-14 with Baltimore with a 6.07 ERA over 121 2/3 innings.

But this season, the O's moved him full-time into their bullpen and he became an All-Star. In 44 games, he is 4-6 with a 1.68 ERA. In 48 1/3 innings, he have given up 30 hits, 17 walks and struck out 54 batters. He has given up just three home runs, a couple to the Twins in back-to-back blown saves last month. Lopez throws hard, with a fastball averaging over 97 mph. 

As of right now, Lopez ranks as the second best reliever (behind Josh Hader) traded at the MLB deadline, though he’s likely to fall to at least third when Cubs closer David Robertson is dealt. He’s also under team control for two more seasons after this one. His worth is reflected in the quantity and quality of prospects the Twins gave up to acquire him. 

Twins Daily has learned that left-hander Cade Povich, their third-round pick in 2011 out of Nebraska, will be sent to the Orioles. Povich has spent the season with the Cedar Rapids Kernels. He became a top prospect with the organization when he arrived at instructional league last fall throwing 97 with a slider. 

Cano was signed after leaving Cuba. The 28-year-old has been impressive the past two seasons in Double-A Wichita and Triple-A St. Paul. He has made 10 appearances for the Twins. In 13 2/3 innings, he has walked 11 and struck out 14 while posting an ERA of 9.22. He's got good stuff and a rubber arm and will do well with the Orioles. 

Juan Nunez, 21, signed with the Twins from the Dominican Republic. He pitched in 11 games in 2021 in the DSL. This season, he is 0-2 with a 4.85 ERA in eight games (7 starts). Over 29 2/3 innings, he has walked 10 and struck out 47 batters. 

Juan Rojas is 18 years old, signed out of Venezuela. He also pitched in the DSL in 2021. This season, he is 1-2 with a 3.60 ERA in eight games (5 starts). In 30 innings, he has 38 strikeouts and just four walks. 

So, the Twins need to make sure that Jorge Lopez 2022 is the Jorge Lopez they are acquiring, and not turn back into Jorge Lopez circa 2015-2021. Will Lopez be thrown into the closer's role? Most likely, Rocco Baldelli will be able to simply choose between Lopez and Jhoan Duran, along with Griffin Jax, in the late innings, and that is a positive. 

The Twins made one move... Will they make more? Let us know your thoughts and what more you would like to see in the comment section.

 


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Baltimore must see Povich as an elite starter to make this move.  Tough to lose a good lefty but getting an All Star closer is something this Twins team desperately needs and is a brilliant move.  Would never have guessed the Twins would get this level of quality reliever.  This is a really good win now move.  

If he can manage a sub 2 ERA in the East He should be a big step up from most of the guys we have.

 

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4 players seems like kind of a lot to give up for a reliever, although Canó may be in the deal more for an immediate fill-in for López' spot than for expected future value.

But the quantity of players given up isn't a reason to knock the move. Acquiring López clearly fills a need and I'm glad to see it.

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Good move, excellent one if Lopez is the guy we've seen this year going forward. Rocket arm who should really help the back of the bullpen.  Even better, 2.5 years left of control. Not a rental. Povich may be a long term MLB starter, but he may not, and Cano looks like he's at best an average reliever. The 2 young guys are lottery tickets. I think a very fair trade for both teams. We get immediate late inning help during an open contention window. Sends a great message to the clubhouse that the FO believes in them and is getting some help NOW. Orioles get some immediate innings out of Cano and some possible real upside to help in their next contention window in 2024-25. 

Well done, FO, well done. 

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Good trade for both teams in my opinion.  Stinks for Orioles fans to sell when the team is finally not awful.  But realistically they weren't going to make the playoffs most likely and if they did would probably be out in wild card round.  Now Orioles may have added a nice rotation piece for their improving team next year and beyond and Twins get what is needed for bullpen now and in future.  

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12 minutes ago, Vanimal46 said:

I think we can finally lay to rest the idea of Pagan seeing late inning work. Hopefully whatever Lopez has learned in Baltimore is sustainable. Big fan of the move, and let’s keep it up! 

His fastball velo is up about 3 mph from where it was when he was a SP, so I think it's safe to say that his performance isn't a fluke!

Absolutely love this trade. Lopez alone makes the bullpen look much better. And he is controlled through 2024!

Great to have Jax, Duran and Lopez locked in for the next couple of years. I'm honestly not expecting this team to do a whole lot this year, but this is a great investment for future years without completely punting this year.

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Hate to give up Povich, but am learning from this year's disappointment in so many young starters that potential seldom reaches success at Target Field.  Damn, the injuries to top pitchers has been disappointing this summer.

What seems to make it worthwhile is the two years of additional control.  Any reports what his salary is for those two years?  Agree that I would like to see a couple rentals, another reliever and an older starter that has two months left on his arm.

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Can we trade Pagan to the Brewers and get back Rogers?

Good move. Lopez still has two more arbitration seasons. We were running the risk that Duran could be over used this season.

Be interesting to see if Cano comes up and gets more of an opportunity with the Orioles. Amazed with Cano's numbers in the minors, but he sure got slugged around in the majors.

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26 minutes ago, jmlease1 said:

Lopez has been excellent this year. Hopefully it's not just a small sample aberration, because until this year he's been very hittable. But he should get slotted in immediately to the back of the bullpen.

If I recall, Sam Dyson was very good the year the Twins acquired him, but had been pretty average before that. Let's hope this isn't a repeat.

Considering what was out there, and what they gave up, I like this move for the Twins.

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1 minute ago, bighat said:

If I recall, Sam Dyson was very good the year the Twins acquired him, but had been pretty average before that. Let's hope this isn't a repeat.

Considering what was out there, and what they gave up, I like this move for the Twins.

Na... Dyson was a proven mlb reliever at that point in time. 

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1 minute ago, IowaBeancounter said:

I was expecting more experienced players to traded to avoid losing them in the rule 5 draft. I think Povich was drafted in 2021 not 2011.

I think Cano qualifies as an arm they were no longer interested in keeping on the roster.

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