Right-handed starting pitcher Pablo López and the Minnesota Twins have agreed to a four-year, $73.5 million contract extension, the team announced Friday. López, 27, was traded to the Twins this past offseason in the deal that sent AL batting champion Luis Arraez to the Marlins.
Through four starts in his Twins career, López has been outstanding. He has a 1.73 ERA, 0.81 WHIP and an MLB-best 33 strikeouts against just six walks in 26 innings. He took the tough-luck loss Sunday in Yankee Stadium, only giving up two runs in six innings while his counterpart, Yankees ace Gerrit Cole, threw a shutout. It's obviously still plenty early, but López is well on his way to his first All-Star appearance.
López signed with the Mariners out of Venezuela in 2012 as an amateur free agent and was traded to the Marlins in 2017 with three other minor leaguers for David Phelps. Moving quickly through the Marlins' system, López debuted in the majors June 30 of 2018. He started to resemble a good MLB starter in 2020 and 2021 would be considered his breakout season, as he pitched to a 3.07 ERA in 20 starts. He took a slight step backward last season, but everything looks excellent in 2023.
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López was not set to hit free agency until after the 2024 season, so this extension, assuming it starts next season, buys out one arbitration year and three free agency years.
The Twins are off to a good start to the 2023 season, sitting 10-6 and in first place in the AL Central by one game over the Guardians.