MLB

Twins make big pitching moves, Dodgers trade for struggling Yankee Joey Gallo

By Sports Desk August 02, 2022

The Minnesota Twins signalled their win-now mindset with a trio of pitching moves, while the Los Angeles Dodgers took on a big-name reclamation project on Tuesday's MLB trade deadline day.

Minnesota lead their division by one game from the Cleveland Guardians, so the decision to push their chips into the middle and make a run at the playoffs is one that makes sense, and to make any noise, they needed pitching reinforcements.

A strong hitting side, the Twins are sixth in the majors in both on-base percentage (.321) and slugging percentage (.419) – but sit in the bottom half of the league in key pitching stats ERA (19th, giving up 4.03 runs per nine innings), strikeouts (21st) and walks allowed (19th).

Out of all 30 teams in the majors, only the Washington Nationals have had fewer 'quality starts' than the Twins – defined by the starting pitcher conceding three or fewer runs in six complete innings. The Nationals are also the only team to have less 'saves' collected by closing pitchers than the Twins.

In a bid to remedy both of those issues, the Twins acquired starting pitcher Tyler Mahle from the Cincinnati Reds, and All-Star closing pitcher Jorge Lopez from the Baltimore Orioles.

The nature of a starting pitcher is that they will throw more innings, and accumulate more overall value, but Lopez is arguably the more significant addition.

One of the best closers in all of baseball this season, 29-year-old Lopez boasts a terrific 1.68 ERA and is 10th in the league in saves with 19. He has allowed 47 total baserunners in 48 innings of work for an impressive WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) of 0.97.

Mahle, 27, does not have spectacular numbers this season (4.40 ERA), but that was mainly due to a rocky start.

He has since rebounded with a run of nine starts of at least five innings pitched with no more than four runs conceded, including back-to-back showings against the Arizona Diamondbacks where he totalled 22 strikeouts and one earned run from 15 innings.

Completing their haul, the Twins also traded pitching prospect Sawyer Gipson-Long for established reliever Michael Fulmer from the Detroit Tigers in another win-now move.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers acquired Joey Gallo from the New York Yankees in the midst of the power-hitting outfielder's worst season of his career.

Gallo, who has a pair of 40 home run seasons on his resume, and is still only 28 years old, has been a disaster since being traded to the Yankees last season, batting .159 with just 37 hits compared to 106 strikeouts.

One of the best teams in baseball, the Dodgers are hoping a change of scenery is all that is needed to re-energise the hard-hitting lefty, and they were able to acquire him as a depth piece for only minor league pitcher Clayton Beeter, who did not figure to contribute in any way to the major league side this eason.

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