The Minnesota Twins, with their AL Central lead shrinking seemingly by the day, have made a trade to improve their bullpen.

Saturday night the Twins and Marlins finalized a deal sending veteran right-hander Sergio Romo to Minnesota, both teams announced. It’s a four-player trade that will see one prospect go to Miami. The details:

  • Twins receive: RHP Sergio Romo, RHP Chris Vallimont, player to be named later
  • Marlins receive: 1B Lewin Diaz

The Twins came into Saturday having received a 4.41 ERA and a 23.8 percent strikeout rate from their bullpen this season, both middle of the pack numbers. In recent weeks Minnesota cut ties with relievers Mike Morin, Adalberto Mejia, and Blake Parker as part of a midseason bullpen overhaul.

Romo, 36, has a 3.58 ERA and 17 saves this season, though he’s been much better since an ugly stretch to begin the year. He allowed 16 runs in his first 23 innings and has allowed only two runs in 14 2/3 innings since. Romo is still death on righties (.203/.241/.392 against) and he’s working on a one-year, $2.5 million contract, so he’s an affordable rental.

With Taylor Rogers entrenched as manager Rocco Baldelli’s closer, Romo joins a setup crew that includes righty Ryne Harper and lefty Lewis Thorpe. The Twins are expected to pursue further bullpen help to give Baldelli more options, and also lighten the load on their starting rotation.

The Marlins are of course in the middle of a rebuild, and a solid veteran reliever on a one-year contract like Romo is always a prime piece of trade bait. MLB.com ranked Diaz as the 30th best prospect in the Twins’ system prior to the trade. He is hitting .297/.339/.558 with 19 homers in High Class-A and Double-A this year. Here is a snippet of MLB.com’s  scouting report:

Diaz’s value lies in his offensive potential from the left side of the plate. He had shown an ability to make consistent contact and drive the ball to all fields in the past, though lost his way in 2018. He rediscovered his stroke in 2019 and is starting to tap into his tremendous raw power, especially to the pull side, setting a career high in home runs … Just 22 years old for all of 2019, there’s still plenty of time for him to fit the profile of a run-producing first baseman.

The Marlins are expected to move several others prior to Wednesday’s trade deadline. Righty starter Trevor Richards is said to be available, and veteran rentals like Neil Walker and Starlin Castro could be on the move as well.

Vallimont, 22, has a 3.16 ERA in 105 1/3 innings at Single-A this year. MLB.com’s ranked him as Miami’s 23rd best prospect before the trade and indicates his future lies in the bullpen due to command issues. All things considered, the Twins did well turning a lower minors first base prospect into a big league reliever and a potential bullpen prospect.

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