Twins, Pablo Lopez make extension official: ‘I’m ready to live and breathe Minnesota Twins baseball’
Lopez, acquired from Marlins in trade that sent Luis Arraez to Miami, is signed through the 2027 season
One of the first things Pablo Lopez did on the day he was traded from Miami to Minnesota in January was acquire contact information for the Twins’ community relations staff in search of ways to make an impact in his new hometown.
Upon his arrival in spring training, Lopez had a favor to ask: The starting pitcher wanted to show up to Hammond Stadium early, before his teammates, to make sure he was able to get all of his work in.
In the months between the Jan. 20 trade and Friday, when a four-year, $73.5 million contract extension with the starter became official, the Twins have seen a countless number of examples from the 27-year-old, both on and off the field, that have convinced them that Lopez was the right guy to reward with the largest contract given to a pitcher in team history.
“It’s rare … when you read the scouting reports that you look on paper and the player exceeds everything that’s written there and it says ‘high character’ and it says ‘incredible work ethic’ and it says everything about the quality of the pitcher that he is,” Twins president of baseball operations Derek Falvey said. “Then he comes to the doors and you get to know the person, the living, breathing human being who is there and (he’s) just over and above.”
The deal, which starts next season, will keep Lopez in a Twins uniform through the 2027 season, buying out his final year of arbitration and what would have been his first three years of free agency.
Lopez, when the trade happened, said he heard from multiple people that the Twins organization would be a good fit for him. He soon came to find out that that was true.
As the possibility of a contract extension began to come into clearer focus, the starting pitcher said he became increasingly excited about the opportunity to stay in Minnesota long term. Signing an extension, he said, was a “dream come true.”
“I’m ready to live and breathe Minnesota Twins baseball on and off the field,” Lopez said.
The Twins are just as happy about the move.
“When you get a chance to lay eyes on a player who is committed to a disciplined routine and way of handling himself, and the things he believes in, all of those things, when they match up with what a manager, coaching staff, organization, group in the clubhouse are striving for or aiming for — and he exemplifies that every single day — these decisions become very easy for us,” manager Rocco Baldelli said.
On the field, the Twins believed they were trading for a top-of-the-rotation starting pitcher when they acquired Lopez for popular Luis Arraez this offseason. They’ve gotten that from Lopez, who has given up five runs in 26 innings (1.73 earned-run average), thus far, and has taken his game to a new level this season.
Lopez said that when he arrived at spring training, he sat for three days with members of the Twins’ staff, getting to know his identity as a pitcher. He thought he knew himself, he said, but he discovered so much more.
The changeup artist introduced a sweeper pitch to his arsenal, which has been nearly unhittable in the early going, helping lead to some of his early-season success.
“Once we found the things that we knew could help me get to the next level, they did everything in their power to give me the feedback that I needed,” Lopez said.
The deal means that the Twins have Lopez and stars Carlos Correa and Byron Buxton now locked in for the long term. Buxton’s deal runs through 2028 and so does Correa’s, at minimum, giving the Twins three pillars to build around in the coming years.
“We’re looking to build a dynasty and now I’m going to be a part of that. I’m going to commit myself 100% to that every day to be the best version of myself, be better than I was five days ago, be better than I was the previous time and then just taking it one day at a time looking for many, many ways to get better,” Lopez said.
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