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Orioles trade All-Star closer to Jorge López with Minnesota Twins for 4 pitching prospects – The Denver Post

One game over .500 and only a handful of games out of a playoff berth, the Orioles traded closest All-Star Jorge López to the Minnesota Twins for four pitching prospects.

It’s the second day in a row the Orioles have traded a major league contributor at a time when their rebuild seems to finally be happening at the major league level. On Monday, Baltimore traded first baseman Trey Mancini to the Houston Astros for two pitching prospects in a three-team trade that included the Tampa Bay Rays. Tuesday at 6 p.m. marks the MLB trade deadline.

In exchange for López and cash consideration, Baltimore received four more pitchers from Minnesota, getting lefties Cade Povich and Juan Rojas and righties Yennier Cano and righties Yennier Canó and Juan Nuñez. The Orioles recalled left-handed reliever Nick Vespi to fill López’s vacancy.

López has been with the Orioles since 2020, arriving as a waiver request from the Kansas City Royals. After struggling mid-innings as a starter, López moved to the back of the Baltimore bullpen and had immediate success, thriving as closer manager Brandon Hyde and representing the Orioles in from last month’s All-Star Game in Los Angeles.

Unlike Mancini, who was in the final guaranteed year of his contract, López won’t be a free agent until after the 2024 season. The 29-year-old right-hander has a 1.68 ERA and 19 saves in 23 tries. Half of his missed saves came in back-to-back appearances against his new club in early July.

The Orioles followed up those back-to-back losses with a 10-game winning streak, propelling them to .500 and within reach of a playoff berth. A win on Monday night made them a winning club at 52-51 and brought them within 2½ games of a wildcard spot in the American League.

In explaining Mancini’s trade on Monday, Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias cited “this year’s outlook and odds” for the Orioles reaching the playoffs. They are in the toughest division in baseball, with the other four AL East playoff teams also battling for playoff spots.

Because of this, Elias prioritized the future in trades, hoping to maximize what he called a “championship window.” López, under the control of the team for two years after this one, apparently could have been part of it.

Instead, he heads to a Twins team battling for the AL Central title, while the Orioles will look to other members of a bullpen, likely right-handers Felix Bautista and Dillon Tate, to manage. the ninth round.

Cano, 28, is the only player on the comeback package to have already reached the majors, pitching 13 2/3 innings for the Twins this year. Povich, 22, ranked Minnesota’s 21st prospect, according to Baseball America, and struck out more than 12 batters per nine innings as a starter in High-A. Rojas, 18, and Nuñez, 21, both posted impressive goals-to-walk ratios in the Florida Complex League.

Baltimore Sun reporter Andy Kostka contributed to this report. This story will be updated.

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