In dire need of bullpen help alongside star rookie Jhoan Duran, the Minnesota Twins have traded for all-star Orioles closer Jorge Lopez. Baltimore will receive reliever Yennier Cano, alongside prospects Cade Povich, Juan Nunez, and Juan Rojas. All five players in the deal are pitchers.
Up until the 2022 season, Lopez was an underperforming failed starter who could’ve been designated for assignment without any headlines. Now, he fetches the Orioles four players. For a team that has surprised everyone this season, Lopez had been their closer and the backbone of an elite bullpen. His sinker averages just under 98 miles per hour. He throws five pitches, all of which have a whiff rate over 20 percent, although his fastball has mostly been cut off. Along with a career-best 27.6 K%, Lopez is in the 95th percentile in hard hit percentage, and has a groundball rate over 60 percent.
The big concern for Lopez as he joins the Twins is a bad month of July. All three of his home runs allowed this year came in the past 30 days. He had a 4.76 ERA and a 1.500 WHIP in 12 outings. The Twins get a valuable arm as they try to break their record of 18 consecutive playoff losses. Only one of their top 30 prospects (via MLB Pipeline) is dealt in Povich, who was placed at 22nd.
Lopez, 29, has a 1.68 ERA with 54 strikeouts, 19 saves, a 2.99 FIP, and a 0.972 WHIP in 48.1 innings for the Orioles this season. In his career for the Orioles, Milwaukee Brewers, and Kansas City Royals, Lopez has a 5.51 ERA with 351 strikeouts, a 4.89 FIP, and a 1.476 WHIP in 398.1 innings.
The only piece of the trade that will be an Oriole somewhat soon is Cano, an older Cuban who has struggled in 10 MLB outings this season. His numbers in AAA are much better, as he has good strikeout numbers but with unreliable control. Nunez and Rojas are both rookie league pitchers who are the definition of lottery ticket prospects. A third round pick in 2021, Povich has a 3.40 FIP in High-A this season.
Cano, 28, has a 9.22 ERA with 14 strikeouts, a 6.55 FIP, and a 2.049 WHIP in 13.2 MLB innings this season. In his minor league career, Cano has a 3.07 ERA with 126 strikeouts and a 1.311 WHIP in 108.1 innings pitched.
Povich, 22, has a 4.46 ERA with 107 strikeouts and a 1.233 WHIP in 78.2 innings pitched for High-A Cedar Rapids this season. He has a 4.06 ERA with 126 strikeouts in 88.2 innings in his professional career.
Nunez, 21, has a 4.85 ERA with 47 strikeouts in 29.2 innings this season. In his professional career, Nunez has a 3.20 ERA with 109 strikeouts and a 1.105 WHIP in 76 innings pitched.
Rojas, 18, has a 2.57 ERA with 87 strikeouts, 18 walks, and a WHIP of 0.943 in 70 innings pitched in his rookie league career.