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Final MLB trade deadline grades for the Twins

Twins, Tyler Mahle, Jorge Lopez, Michael Fulmer, 2022 MLB trade deadline

The Minnesota Twins are in the middle of a furious battle a top the American League Central standings. They are currently leading the pack in their division, but both the Cleveland Guardians and Chicago White Sox are within two games behind them. It’s going to be quite a wild race to the finish line, as the two teams that don’t win the division could ultimately end up missing the postseason entirely.

The Twins are doing their best to hold off the Guardians and White Sox, and the reinforcements they picked up at the trade deadline should help them drastically. Minnesota entered the deadline knowing they needed pitching help, and they made some flashy moves to get them that help.

If it earns them a playoff spot, it will certainly be worth it, but the Twins aren’t just looking to make it to the playoffs; they want to go on a deep playoff run. And with all the help they picked up at the 2022 MLB trade deadline, that may be a reasonable goal. Let’s look at the Twins deadline dealings, and hand them a final grade for their work.

Minnesota Twins 2022 MLB trade deadline final grade

The Twins biggest moves were made with the intention of shoring up their pitching staff. Both their starting rotation and bullpen needed help, and they made some solid moves to address both areas. But Minnesota’s lineup needed a bit of help too, and they made a low-key move to help them shore things up in that department.

The Twins were one of the many teams that needed catching help at the deadline, but rather than go out and get one of the bigger names, they settled in on Sandy Leon, who was on their division rival, the Guardians. The Twins picked up Leon in exchange for reliever Ian Hamilton, who has spent most of the season in the minors. Leon hasn’t played much this season, but he’s a solid veteran catcher who can fill in behind the dish while Ryan Jeffers is on the injured list, and giving up Hamilton certainly wasn’t a steep price to pay.

The big moves followed, though, and the Twins picked up one of the most sought after relievers on the market from another divisional foe. They acquired Michael Fulmer from the Detroit Tigers in exchange for pitching prospect Sawyer Gipson-Long. Gipson-Long has some upside, but Fulmer’s ability to fill in as a late-innings setup guy in the bullpen is exactly what the Twins need.

Minnesota made another big move to shore up the backend of their bullpen when they sent over a package of prospects to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for their closer Jorge Lopez. The Twins haul going back to Baltimore included four pitchers in Cade Povich, Yennier Cano, Juan Nunez, and Juan Rojas. None of those guys were going to help the team out this season, but Lopez can.

Just one season after going 3-14 as a starter with a 6.07 ERA, Lopez reinvented himself as an All-Star closer this season. He has 20 saves and a 1.64 ERA, and given how Minnesota hasn’t had any success finding a consistent closer this season Lopez should immediately fill that role.

But the biggest move of the deadline for the Twins came towards the end when they picked up starting pitcher Tyler Mahle from the Cincinnati Reds in return for infielder Spencer Steer, left handed pitcher Steve Hajjar, and infielder Christian Encarnacion-Strand. These prospects have more upside than those that Minnesota parted with in their deal for Lopez, but it’s still not an outrageous haul for the Reds.

Mahle has been a bit inconsistent this season (5-7, 4.40 ERA, 114 K, 1.25 WHIP), but it probably hasn’t helped that he’s been playing on an awful Reds squad. He should be set to improve on the Twins, and their already deep rotation adds another impact starter to help them in their playoff push.

Final Grade: A-

All in all, this was a really solid trade deadline for the Twins. They knew they needed pitching help, and they went out and got some. Lopez will immediately fill in as the teams new closer, and Fulmer figures to be one of the guys in front of him making sure that the game makes it to Lopez in the ninth. They already have some solid bullpen arms in Jhoan Duran, Griffin Jax, and Trevor Megill, and adding these two guys should help out in a big way.

Mahle provides another top-end starter to a Twins rotation that already features guys like Joe Ryan and Sonny Gray. They may not have a typical ace, but their starting depth is something that many teams don’t possess. With a revamped pitching staff, the Twins appear set to make a serious run in the American League the rest of the way out this season.