Twins make trades for pitchers Jorge Lopez, Tyler Mahle, Michael Fulmer

Major League Baseball's non-waiver trade deadline passed at 5 p.m. Tuesday, and for the first time in recent memory, the Minnesota Twins were significant buyers.

When it was all said and done, the Twins acquired starting pitcher Tyler Mahle, relievers Jorge Lopez and Michael Fulmer and catcher Sandy Leon in exchange for a total of nine prospects from the organization. Front office heads Derek Falvey and Thad Levine are doing everything they can to help the Twins get to the American League Central Division title with 60 regular season games to play . Entering Tuesday night's game against the Detroit Tigers at Target Field, the Twins are 54-48 and have a one-game lead over the Cleveland Guardians in the division. The Chicago White Sox are lurking, three games behind.

"It was a busy day, it always is. I joke about 80 percent of the trades getting done on the last day of the deadline. I’m going to have to tally it later, it’s probably more than that this year. It certainly was for us, but it was a really exciting day and we were able to add a lot of talent to this team that we really believe in," Twins President of Baseball Operations Derek Falvey said.

The Twins announced Tuesday morning that they acquired Lopez, a right-handed closer, from the Baltimore Orioles for four minor league prospects.

Lopez was an American League All-Star with the Orioles last month and is 4-6 on the season with a 1.68 earned run average. He has recorded 19 saves in 23 opportunities, and has 54 strikeouts and 17 walks in 48 1/3 innings pitched. He also has given up just three home runs this season, and opponents are hitting just .174 off him.

Lopez is in his seventh major league season and has previously pitched for the Milwaukee Brewers and Kansas City Royals before the Orioles. Team officials say Lopez will wear No. 48 and will be in uniform at Target Field Tuesday night. Oddly enough, two of Lopez's four blown saves this season came last month against the Twins.

The Twins badly needed help in the bullpen, and they got it with Lopez. But the Twins weren’t done. A few hours later, the team announced it acquired Mahle from the Cincinnati Reds for three minor league prospects. Mahle is 27 years old and is 5-7 in 19 starts this season with a 4.40 earned run average. He has 114 strikeouts, 39 walks and opponents are hitting .232 off him in 104 1/3 innings pitched this season. In his last nine starts, Mahle is 3-2 with a 2.83 ERA with 64 strikeouts, 16 walks and a .212 opponent batting average in seven quality starts.

In 33 starts last season with Cincinnati, Mahle was 13-6 with a 3.75 ERA. He had 210 strikeouts, and his 10.41 strikeouts per nine innings pitched since the start of the 2020 season if fifth-best in Major League Baseball.

He'll give the starting rotation a quality arm as Chris Archer, Dylan Bundy and Sonny Gray have all had up-and-down seasons, and Chris Paddack's season is over after having Tommy John surgery.

Before the 5 p.m. deadline expired, the Twins made a move to acquire Fulmer, a relief pitcher, from the Detroit Tigers. Fulmer has been with the Tigers since 2016, and is 3-4 this season with a 3.20 ERA, 39 strikeouts and 14 earned runs in 39 1/3 innings

With the Tigers in town facing the Twins, Fulmer will be in uniform and ready to pitch if needed, since all he had to do pregame was change clubhouses.

The Twins on Tuesday also dealt pitcher Ian Hamilton to the Cleveland Guardians for Leon. With Ryan Jeffers out likely until September with a fractured finger, the Twins needed depth behind Gary Sanchez at catcher.

In eight games with the Guardians this season, Leon is hitting .133 with two hits in 15 at bats. In 83 games with the Miami Marlins last season, he hit .183 with four homers, five doubles and 14 RBI. He'll start out with the St. Paul Saints.

Needing pitching for the final 60 regular season games, the first-place Twins decided to be buyers and got a quality starter, and two quality relievers.