Early this morning, Craig Mish of The Miami Herald reported that the Minnesota Twins and starter Pablo López were close to agreeing to a four-year, $73.5 million extension. Dan Hayes and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic later confirmed the report.
The reported deal buys out López’s final arbitration trip in 2024, and tacks on three additional years for the Twins. Assuming he would have gotten around $10 million in arbitration next season, it’s essentially a 3-year, $63 million extension for the starter. The deal makes plenty of sense from López’s side, as it locks him into a competitive team with a good salary, while still allowing him to be a free agent prior to his age-32 season and get one more big contract.
For the Twins, it’s hard to imagine a better extension than this after Lopez’s sizzling start. The AAV of this contract puts him in a similar range as what mid-rotation starters have been getting in recent offseasons, such as Jameson Taillon’s deal with the Cubs last offseason (four years/$68 million, $17 million AAV). Looking at similar pre-FA extensions, such as Logan Webb’s with the San Francisco Giants (five years/$90 million), the Twins clearly got a team-friendly pact from López.
Another good comparison is old friend Jose Berrios. While Berrios has struggled in Toronto, he was in a similar situation when he signed his seven-year, $131 million extension. With a year of team control remaining, Berrios got a similar AAV but stretched it three years longer to bring up the lump sum. The fact that the Twins were able to extend López for almost half of what Berrios received is a steal. As our own John Foley put it in our Slack channel, we’re getting Twins Pablo at the Marlins Pablo price.
López joins Carlos Correa and Byron Buxton as core players locked into long-term, big-money extensions in Minnesota. It’s a welcome change for the Twins, whose previous largest pitcher contract was Ervin Santana’s four-year, $54 million guarantee, though they’ve been trying to shake that trend. The Twins were squarely in the mix for both Yu Darvish and Zack Wheeler in recent offseasons, offering similar money to the $100 million+ deals they signed with the Cubs and Phillies, respectively.
The deal is still (holds breath) pending a physical, so it likely won’t be announced by the Twins until Wednesday or Thursday, but I don’t think we’ll be seeing any Correa-esque hijinks this time around.