According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the Baltimore Orioles are trading closer Jorge Lopez to Minnesota. This in exchange for LHP Cade Povich, RHP Yennier Cano, RHP Juan Nuñez and LHP Juan Rojas. I’ll admit that it’s a bit ironic given that Lopez hit a bit of a skid while in Minnesota last month. But history makes for strange bedfellows at times.
The guys the Orioles are getting back aren’t by any means top prospects. However as good as Lopez has been, I would remind fans that he’s basically a one-inning pitcher. Will any of the four prospects make it to the big leagues? Tough to say. Right now they have highish ERA’s. But could they help the Orioles at the big league level? Absolutely.
They way you have to look at it (regarding this Lopez trade as well as the Mancini trade yesterday) is that the Orioles aren’t necessarily looking to contend this year. Now if they back into a playoff spot, great. However they’re already ahead of schedule. Next year the expectations might be a totally different story.
So the more prospects, even low-level prospects, you have in your system, the better. Because those prospects could be flipped to another team in exchange for a big league player in future years. This when the window to win is in the here and now, and for a player who could help the Orioles compete. Point being that “the plan” has never been just to rebuild the big league roster as a winner. But also to rebuild the minor league system.
In order to do that, you want all the prospects you can get. Obviously depending on the player being acquired (by the Orioles in the future), certain top prospects might be off the table. But the more prospects in your system overall, the more chances you’ll have at packaging a few together to net a return of a great player. Nevertheless, yesterday it was Mancini; today the news du jour is Jorge Lopez to Minnesota.