MLB trade deadline: Twins acquire starter Tyler Mahle from Reds, closest All-Star Jorge López from Orioles

The No. 1 Minnesota Twins are making moves at MLB’s 2022 trade deadline. Minnesota first agreed to a five-man trade with the Baltimore Orioles for All-Star close Jorge López. The Orioles will receive four players in return: left-handers Cade Povich and Juan Rojas and right-handers Yennier Cano and Juan Nuñez. the teams announced on Tuesday.

Later in the day, the Twins also added starting pitcher Tyler Mahle from the Reds in a deal that returns three prospects to Cincinnati. Returning from the Reds on this one are infielder Spencer Steer, third baseman Christian Encarnacion-Strand and left-handed pitcher Steven Hajjar.

López, 29, recently made his first career All-Star Game amid a breakout season. In 44 games with the Orioles, he posted a 1.68 ERA (241 ERA+) and a strikeout ratio of 3.18. These are remarkable improvements over his career ratings at the start of this season, when he amassed a 6.04 ERA (76 ERA+) and a 2.15 strikeout ratio in 102 games with three. other organizations.

López’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 his average speed dropping from 95mph to 98mph, he’s throwing also the ground more frequently. Indeed, his 50% usage rate this season would mark a new career high.

It’s clear the twins believe in López to maintain those gains. They will also have him under the control of the team for two more seasons, which means it could be more than the typical delay rental situation.

Mahle is 27 and is under the control of the team until next season, so it’s not a rental. He is 5-7 with a 4.40 ERA (104 ERA+), 3.60 FIP, 1.25 WHIP and 114 strikeouts in 104 1/3 innings this season. He was 13-6 with a 3.75 ERA and 210 strikeouts in 180 innings last season and has looked like a mid-rotation workaholic for the past three or so seasons.

Mahle helps solidify the Minnesota rotation behind Sonny Gray and Joe Ryan. Chris Archer pitched well enough to be considered their No. 4 while Dylan Bundy rounds things out.

In exchange for López, the Orioles scored four pitchers.

  • Povich, 22, was the Twins’ 2021 third-round pick. He has amassed a 4.46 ERA and 4.12 strikeout ratio in 16 High-A starts this season. Povich was ranked the Twins’ 21st top prospect by Baseball America. They noted that it had a projectable frame and a four-pitch mix.
  • Cano, 28, made his league debut earlier this season. In 10 major league outings, he retired more than one batter per inning. He also published 11 Walks in 13 Frames. Cano throws a mid-90s sinker, an 80s top slider and a 90-mph shift from a low three-quarter release point.
  • Nuñez, 21, has made eight complex ball appearances this season. He has a 4.85 ERA and a 4.70 strike-out ratio to show his issues. He was not ranked by Baseball America as one of the top 30 prospects in the Twins system.
  • Rojas, 18, has also made eight complex ball appearances. He has an ERA of 3.60 and a strikeout ratio of 9.50. He also didn’t make Baseball America’s top 30 rankings.

As for the package going to the Reds:

  • Steer, 24, took part in the Futures Game a few weeks ago. Between Double-A (35 games) and Triple-A (48 games) this season, he’s hitting .269/.361/.528 with 23 doubles, two triples, 20 homers, 62 RBIs, 66 runs and three steals. He has played second, third and shortstop this season, spending most of his time at third base.
  • Encarnacion-Strand, 22, was a fourth-round pick from Oklahoma State in 2021. In 74 games for High-A Cedar Rapids this season, he hit .296/.370/.599 with 23 doubles, three triples, 20 homers. , 68 RBI, 52 runs and seven steals. A few weeks ago he was promoted to Double-A and he went 18 for 54 (.333) with two doubles, a triple, five home runs, 17 RBIs and 11 runs in just 13 games since.
  • Hajjar, 21, was the Twins’ second-round pick out of the University of Michigan last year. In 13 starts for Class A Fort Myers this year, he’s 2-2 with a 2.47 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 71 strikeouts in 43 2/3 innings.

Neal T. Doss