The Minnesota Twins traded Yennier Cano and three prospects for Jorge Lopez on Tuesday morning, and ESPN analyst Bradford Doolittle is giving the Baltimore Orioles the business for giving up on the season. He commends the Twins for going for it with a narrow division lead, giving them an A- for adding Baltimore’s closer to a shaky bullpen.
It feels like Lopez has been around forever, but because of how much time he’s spent bouncing back and forth from the minors, he entered this season with barely three years of big league service time, so the Twins have two more controllable seasons for him after this one.
That in itself justifies the prospect return in the deal, which is four pitchers, none of whom were highly ranked organizational prospects entering the season. The only quibble with this deal from the Minnesota perspective is whether the Twins might have been able to get a better closer from another club.
Minnesota gave up Cano, Cade Povich, Juan Rojas, and Juan Nunez to seal the deal. Povich has a 4.46 ERA in High-A, and Rojas and Nunez have pitched in the complex league.
I know, I know. The Orioles are rebuilding. But you know when a rebuild is over? When your team reaches August with a winning record, is 2 1/2 games out of a playoff spot and has a break-even run differential even while playing in baseball’s toughest division.
Does that sound like a good time to unfurl the white flag to you? It doesn’t to me. I imagine the Orioles’ clubhouse having a rally-the-troops scene tonight straight out of “Major League”, except Adley Rutschman may be too young to play the role of Tom Berenger.
Anyway, from a value standpoint, I’d rather bet on Lopez outproducing any one of these four prospects over the next three seasons, but he’d be hard-pressed to outproduce the aggregate of the quartet over the duration of all those controllable seasons. Yippee.
The entire article is worth a read if you have ESPN+. Doolittle goes in-depth on how Lopez has transformed from a failed starter to an All-Star reliever while offering something on the four pitchers Minnesota gave up. Praise for the Twins feels good this year, especially when they really needed bullpen help. And it never hurts to know that a top ESPN analyst feels they fleeced another team before the deadline.