The Milwaukee Brewers and Seattle Mariners made a trade in January of 2023 that sent promising journeyman reliever Justin Topa out west in exchange for pitching prospect Joseph Hernandez. Topa has a significant injury history consisting of three elbow surgeries (two tommy john procedures and one to address a flexor tendon), but he managed to stay healthy in 2023. He now has been involved as a piece in a blockbuster trade between the Mariners and Minnesota Twins.
Injuries hampered Justin Topa during his time with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Justin Topa made his MLB debut with the Brew Crew during the shortened 2020 season and he appeared primed for an increased role in 2021. Unfortunately he tried to rehab a flexor tendon injury sustained early on that next season, he missed substantial time, and ultimately ended up undergoing surgery. Over the course of three years with the Brewers he was limited to just 18 innings pitched.
How did Justin Topa perform with the Seattle Mariners in 2023?
In Seattle Topa made the most of his opportunities. The 32 year old managed to stay healthy, tossed 69 innings, had a 2.61 ERA, recorded 23 holds, and three saves. Despite his age 2024 will be his first year of arbitration. His potential when healthy and remaining years of team control made him an intriguing trade chip.
Justin Topa was involved in a blockbuster Seattle Mariners and Minnesota Twins trade centered around Jorge Polanco.
On Monday, January 29 news broke that the Mariners and Twins had agreed to a deal centered around Jorge Polanco. Seattle gave up four players in order to acquire one player from the Twins. Justin Topa was one of the players involved.
Mariners receive: INF Jorge Polanco
Twins receive: RHP Anthony DeScalfani, RHP Justin Topa, OF Gabriel Gonzalez, and RHP Darren Bowen.
As a new member of the Twins Justin Topa should compete for high leverage innings. Jhoan Duran figures to get the majority of their save opportunities but Topa proved a year ago that he can handle those stressful situations.
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