In their bigger splash, the Twins acquired Orioles closer Jorge López in their first deal on Tuesday morning in exchange for a four-player package headlined by left-hander Cade Povich — the club’s third-round pick from the 2021 Draft and its No. 22 prospect — and hard-throwing right-hander Yennier Cano. Later in the afternoon, right-hander Michael Fulmer switched clubhouses at Target Field as the result of a last-minute deal between the Twins and Tigers.
Before Tuesday, the depleted leverage corps of the Twins’ bullpen relied very heavily on youngsters Jhoan Duran and Griffin Jax, who both sat in the top 10 in innings pitched among American League relievers in the first half of the season. With López in the mix to throw ninth innings for the Twins and Fulmer available as another setup option, the Twins can now more freely deploy Duran in the most important situations and take some pressure off Jax.
“I think it allows a few guys to maybe settle into some different roles that could really help us,” president of baseball operations Derek Falvey said. “So we feel like now, that allows for Tyler Duffey and Griffin Jax and Emilio Pagan and everybody else to kind of slide into different roles. And I feel like it’s really going to fit us well down the stretch.”
The 29-year-old López doesn’t have a lengthy track record, considering he only converted to full-time relief this season following six uneven seasons as a starter for the Brewers, Royals and Orioles. But his move to the bullpen has made him one of the best late-inning performers in baseball this season, as he was Baltimore’s sole All-Star in ’22 and owns a 1.68 ERA, 54 strikeouts and 19 saves in 48 1/3 innings across 44 appearances.