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Twins land Reds starter Tyler Mahle, Orioles closer Jorge Lopez in deadline-day deals, also add reliever

Lopez, a first-time all-star this season, has a 1.68 earned-run average and has converted 19 of 23 save opportunities this season.

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Baltimore Orioles
Baltimore Orioles relief pitcher Jorge Lopez delivers against the Tampa Bay Rays on July 26, 2022, at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. <br/>Lopez, a first-time all-star this season, has a 1.68 earned-run average and has converted 19 of 23 save opportunities this season. On Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022, he was traded to the Minnesota Twins for several prospects.
Tommy Gilligan / USA Today Sports
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Twins swung deadline day deals for Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Tyler Mahle and Baltimore Orioles reliever Jorge Lopez, bolstering a pitching staff badly in need of help ahead of Tuesday’s deadline.

Mahle is 5-7 with a 4.40 earned-run average this season for the Reds and is under contract through next year. To pry him away from the Reds, the Twins parted with infielder Spencer Steer, their No. 7 prospect per MLB Pipeline, left-handed pitcher Steve Hajjar (No. 18) and infielder Christian Encarnacion-Strand, who is currently at Double-A Wichita and is hitting .302 with 25 home runs this season and a .986 OPS.

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Cincinnati Reds
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Tyler Mahle throws against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 24, 2022, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. On Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022, Mahle was traded to the Minnesota Twins.
David Kohl / USA Today Sports

Lopez, a first-time all-star this season, has a 1.68 earned-run average and has converted 19 of 23 save opportunities this season.

Two of those blown saves came against the Twins early last month, when his new teammate Byron Buxton took him deep for a two-run walk-off home run and the next day, Jorge Polanco hit a game-tying home run off of him before Jose Miranda drove in the game-winning run.

But otherwise, the reliever has been called upon and has come through. He gives the Twins another late-inning arm to slot in alongside Jhoan Duran and Griffin Jax, and he’s controlled through the 2024 season.

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The reliever called the deadline-day deal “another blessing.”

“Just completely life-changing,” he said. “I’m just really thankful for the Orioles and what they’ve been doing, and I’m glad (I’m) coming to the new chapter with the Minnesota Twins. Just to (have that) happen is something really special. I know they’ve got a really good group, and I’m going to do anything I can to keep competing and (have) the mindset to get to the World Series.”

The 29-year-old’s breakout season came after a full-time move to the bullpen in 2022. Lopez started 25 games in 33 appearances for the Orioles last season, posting a 6.07 earned-run average. In parts of six seasons heading into this year, his career ERA was north of 6. But since converting full time to relief, he has struck out 54 batters in 48 1/3 innings and quickly moved into the closer’s role for the Orioles.

“It was very different when I was a reliever when I was with Milwaukee and with KC. Here, it was different because everybody’s a leader, I know that, but it was crazy to be 29 and just to be the oldest in the bullpen,” Lopez said. “I felt that responsibility on me to show the guys how to treat things on the field. That thing, I think, really helped me to improve and know myself and have that to lock in and come to the game and keep learning through the game. It’s been a lot of work.”

To land him, the Twins parted with reliever Yennier Cano, as well as pitching prospects Cade Povich, Juan Nuñez and Juan Rojas. Povich, 22, is the top prospect of the group, checking in at No. 22 among the Twins’ farm system per MLB Pipeline.

The Twins weren’t done Tuesday, however.

Later in the day, they acquired right-hander Michael Fulmer from the Detroit Tigers in exchange for minor league right-hander Sawyer Gipson-Long.

Fulmer, 29, is 3-4 with a 3.20 ERA and two saves this season for the Twins' American League Central rivals. Fulmer is already in the Twin Cities as the Tigers and Twins are playing a three-game series. Fulmer pitched ⅓ of an inning in Monday night's game, giving up two runs on four hits.

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To make room for Fulmer on the roster, the Twins on Tuesday designated right-hander Aaron Sanchez for assignment.

Fulmer is 32-43 with a 3.90 ERA in 178 career appearances (89 starts) for the Tigers over six seasons. He made the AL All-Star team in 2017 when he was exclusively a starter in Detroit.

Gipson-Long, 24, split the 2022 season between High-A Cedar Rapids and Double-A Wichita, going 8-6 with a 4.23 ERA in 18 games (17 starts).

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Related Topics: MINNESOTA TWINS
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