MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Twins stocked up their sputtering pitching staff ahead of Tuesday’s trade deadline by acquiring All-Star closer Jorge López in a deal with the Baltimore Orioles and starter Tyler Mahle in a swap with the Cincinnati Reds, giving up a total of seven prospects.
The 29-year-old López is in the middle of a breakout season for the Orioles, with a sparkling 1.68 ERA and 19 of his 20 career saves. The 27-year-old Mahle is 5-7 with a 4.40 ERA in 19 starts with 114 strikeouts over 104 1/3 innings for the Reds.
The Twins, who took a one-game lead in the AL Central into their game on Tuesday night, have a 5.30 team ERA since the All-Star break.
López joins a Twins team that has been desperate to find reliable late-inning options beyond Jhoan Duran. Griffin Jax has been a find after his conversion from a starting role in 2021, but Emilio Pagan was recently moved into lower-leverage situations and Tyler Duffey has an ERA (4.57) almost two runs higher than his cumulative total of the previous three seasons.
Mahle will help shore up a rotation that has been ravaged by injuries, with Bailey Ober, Josh Winder, Chris Paddack, Kenta Maeda and Randy Dobnak all sidelined. The Twins acquired Mahle’s former teammate, Sonny Gray, in a March trade with the Reds.
Baltimore received minor league pitchers Cade Povich, Yennier Cano, Juan Nuñez and Juan Rojas from Minnesota for López. Only Cano has major league experience, but Povich was a third-round draft pick last year.
Cincinnati got the bigger haul of minor leaguers — infielders Christian Encarnacion-Strand and Spencer Steer, and left-handed pitcher Steve Hajjar.
Including 2021 first-rounder Chase Petty, who went to the Reds for Gray, the Twins have now traded four of their first five picks from last year’s draft. Hajjar, Povich and Encarnacion-Strand went in the second, third and fourth rounds, respectively.
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