With less than a week before the 2023 MLB Trade Deadline, a pair of playoff contenders made an interesting trade. The Marlins and Twins swapped relievers, as right-hander Jorge López will head to Miami in exchange for Dylan Floro. Here’s a closer look at the two pitchers.
The Marlins’ Return
- RP Jorge López (5.09 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, and 27 K in 35.1 IP).
The Minnesota Twins picked up 2022 AL All-Star Jorge López last summer, a deal that aged well for the Orioles. That trade netted Baltimore now-O’s reliever Yennier Cano, who’s scuffled of late but overall, has been a great complement to closer Félix Bautista.
For the Twins, however, the deal proved to be a different story. López, a starter-turned-reliever that found great success in Baltimore in 2022, walked 18 batters in 22.2 innings and owned an ERA of 4.37 after the trade to Minnesota last year. This season, he has a 5.09 ERA, poor batted ball metrics, and opposing hitters have struck out almost seven percent less against him in 2023, as compared to 2022.
López has been very ineffective since May 1. The 30-year-old owns a 7.71 ERA since the flip of the calendar to May, third-worst in the Majors among primary relievers (min. 20 IP). Only Rafael Montero (7.89) and Thaddeus Ward (8.14) had worse ERA figures.
While the walk rate did come down this season, López surrendered seven home runs in 35.1 IP. It’s a number one would not want to see from a pitcher like López, who at his best can excel at generating ground balls with his hard sinker that sits in the mid-to-upper-90s, and gets whiffs with the curveball and slider.
The deal ends López’s turbulent one-year run in Minnesota. López posted a 4.81 ERA over 60 games (58 IP) with the Twins.
The Twins’ Return
- RP Dylan Floro (4.54 ERA. 1.49 WHIP, 41 K over 39.2 IP (MLB))
In return for López, the Twins picked veteran reliever and 2020 World Series champion Dylan Floro.
It’s been a very interesting year for Floro, who looked dominant in the month of April. But much like López, Floro’s struggled since the start of May.
From May 1-July 26, Floro owned a 5.67 ERA. Among primary relievers, that figure is in the bottom 25 of the league among the 197 relievers that threw at least 20 innings in that span.
Left-handed hitters have taken advantage of the right-handed reliever this season, as batters from the opposite side have hit .357 and own a .980 OPS on Floro. That’s a stark change from the .293 average and .770 OPS that left-handed hitters had on him a year ago.
His sinker and four-seamer have been much more hittable, and part of that can likely be attributed to inability to hit his spots. At his best, Floro can run the sinker in on righties and away from left-handers. However, his sinker’s seen more of the plate this season.
Despite those struggles, Floro still has value. The 32-year-old possesses the aforementioned sinker that can get grounders and a four-seamer, as well as a slider and changeup that can get misses.
The Twins and Marlins swap two relievers with good stuff, but have not found consistency in their current settings.
For the Marlins, the hope is likely that López settles down in Miami and helps a bullpen that could use some help. Huascar Brazoban and Tanner Scott have been steady, but A.J. Puk’s struggled since his return from the IL and left-hander Andrew Nardi is on the injured list himself.
As for Minnesota, Floro will look to complement Twins reliever Jhoan Duran, Emilio Pagan, and Griffin Jax. Floro could fit in well with the Twins bullpen, as his offering of pitches is different when compared to the hard-throwing Duran and the power fastball/sweeper combo of Jax.