NEW YORK – The Twins paid a hefty commercial price to bring Pablo López to the front line of their first rotation during the offseason – but have now made him a long-term investment.
Sources told MLB.com on Monday that López and the Twins are closing in on a four-year, $73.5 million contract extension that will cover the 2024-27 seasons. López was originally slated to become a free agent after the 24 season, meaning this new deal would buy him three years of free agency.
The club has not confirmed the deal.
When made official, the deal will be the largest financial commitment for a Rams in team history, surpassing the $55 million four-year deal the Twins awarded to Ervin Santana prior to the 2015 season.
The newfound certainty about Lopez’s future is especially meaningful now that three veterans in the rotation – Sonny Gray, Kenta Maeda and Tyler Mahley – are in the final year of their contracts. Now, the Twins are preparing to build their rotation around their latest Opening Day starters—Lopez and Joe Ryan—for years to come.
The future of rotation looks more secure behind those two, and the team is hopeful that Billy Uber, Louis Farland and Simon Woods Richardson can continue to establish themselves. That gives them options, even if they aren’t sure what to expect from Chris Paddack, who is hoping to return from his second Tommy John surgery late this season after signing a three-year extension during the offseason.
The next wave of young shooters to arrive in the next two seasons or so is also looking bright, led by up-and-coming players like Connor Prilep, Marco Raya and David Vista.
And just as importantly, the twins now have the best pitching and hit talent to solidify their roster. They already had Carlos Correa and Byron Buxton as the core of their position player crew through at least the 2028 season; Now, it’s guaranteed to control both Lopez and Ryan through ’27.
Lopez has had a history of injury concerns, and it was important for the 27-year-old that he finally stayed healthy for 32 full starts last season after finding a better routine for staying healthy. He will only be 31 at the end of this extension.
And remarkably, this isn’t the old Lopez who pitched a 3.83 ERA across 98 starts in six seasons with Miami and Minnesota; There are fundamental reasons to believe he is only scratching the surface of his frontline capabilities.
As López hit a 1.73 ERA in his first four Twins, starting with an MLB-leading 33 strikeouts and six walks in 26 innings pitched, his fastball average speed of 95.4 mph has increased nearly 2 mph from last season and up to 1.5. mph from his previous career. He also added a new sweep slider for the first time, and immediately used it to get big results, with a 50% perfusion rate as the second most used tone.
And that’s not even to mention the best item in his arsenal, a true wiping change that gives him myriad appearances with which he can set and attack hitters on any given day.
Thanks to Lopez’s early dominance, Monday’s Minnesota starters entered second in the MLB in ERA (2.60), first in strikeout rate (29.9%), second in walk rate (6.5%) and first in WHIP (0.96) — and that’s after you’ve already faced both. From the Astros and Yankees.
Although the Twins had to trade away American League hitting champion Luis Aries to bring Lopez into the organization, he gave them immediate results with the kind of playoffs, forward line yardage (albeit in a small sample size) that this organization has always had. He sought to end the drought after his victory. Monday’s news showed that they are hoping to take full advantage of the opportunity.
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