Minnesota Twins sign Pablo Lopez to 4-year contract extension

Getting high-end starting pitching like Pablo Lopez was one of the top priorities for the Minnesota Twins entering the 2023 season.

They’re now making sure Lopez is with the Twins long-term. After a promising start to the season, the Twins announced Friday they’ve signed Lopez to a four-year extension. He’s now under contract in Minnesota through the 2027 season.

The deal is reportedly worth $73.5 million. He’ll make $18.375 million per season.

"This is an exciting day for the Minnesota Twins and for our franchise, and certainly for Pablo. It’s rare when you read the scouting reports that you look on paper and the player exceeds everything that’s written there. His work ethic, his commitment, what he wants to be," Twins President of Baseball Operations Derek Falvey said Friday. "When we traded for him and had that first phone call with him, the first words out of his mouth were ‘I’m going to do everything I can every day to make the Minnesota Twins better and make my teammates better.’ I can’t think something of something that sums up Pablo Lopez more than that statement.

Lopez is 1-1 in four starts this season with the Twins with a 1.73 earned run average. He’s got 33 strikeouts, 11.42 strikeouts per nine innings and has allowed five earned runs in 26 innings. Opponents are hitting .167 off him this season.

"He’s a very special individual. We get a chance to watch everything that Pablo does from the day he arrived. When you get a chance to lay eyes on a player who is committed, when those things match up with what a manager, coaching staff, organization are striving for and he exemplifies that every single day, these decisions become very easy for us," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. "I couldn’t be happier to be sitting here and being a part of what’s going on here." 

Lopez was the Opening Day starter for the Twins as they traded fan-favorite and defending American League batting champion Luis Arraez to the Miami Marlins to bring him to Minnesota. In 98 career starts and 536 innings, Lopez is 29-32 with a 3.83 ERA. He spent his first five major league seasons with the Marlins.

"I came here with a lot expectations, and every expectation I went into Spring Training with were easily exceeded with how this organization is run. I could not be happier to be a Minnesota Twin," Lopez said Friday. "I remember when Carlos (Correa) came back, saying the word dynasty. We’re looking to build a dynasty, and I’m going to be a part of that. I’m going to commit myself 100 percent to that every day, to be the best version of myself."

"We knew the quality of the pitcher. When you make an investment like this, you want to make sure it’s someone you really do believe in that will continue to grow and get better. It was always with an understanding that it felt like Pablo wanted to be here." Falvey said. "He’s pitched like a top of the rotation guy since he’s gotten here, no question. We view him that way, and we’re leaning on him that way. This is what we traded for."

Lopez is scheduled to make his fifth start of the season Saturday against the Washington Nationals.