Discussion: Felipe Lopez

It's been a tough offseason for Felipe Lopez. Yesterday, the free agent infielder fired Scott Boras, likely due to the fact that it's February 14 and he remains jobless despite a strong 2009 campaign.

The switch-hitter signed a one-year, $3.5MM deal with the Diamondbacks last offseason. Lopez was productive in Arizona, hitting .301/.364/.412 until he was traded to the Brewers in mid-July. All Lopez did in Milwaukee was improve, hitting .320/.407/.448 in 66 games with the Brew Crew. In total, his .310/.383/.427 line combined with his strong UZR/150 of 7.6 at second base last season make for a desirable target. Or one would at least think.

Perhaps teams are scared off by Lopez's .360 BABIP, which is substantially higher than his career mark of .323. His 10.4% walk rate is higher than his career mark of 9.2% as well, but even that number is above the 2009 league average of 8.9%. It may not be reasonable to expect a .383 OBP again, but in a market where we've seen Miguel Tejada sign for one year at $6MM, Orlando Hudson at one year and $5MM, and Pedro Feliz at one year and $4.5MM, it's hard not to ask why Lopez is still looking for work. After all, he had a better all-around season than all three of those former free agents.

To this point, the only substantial interest we've seen in Lopez has been from the Cardinals, though they've dedicated a great deal of money to Matt Holliday and Brad Penny this offseason. Last we heard, St. Louis has $6MM-$7MM to spend, and they've got question marks in the infield that make Lopez a logical fit.

Keeping in mind that he can play all over the infield and even some outfield if necessary, are there fits besides St. Louis, or is their reunion just a matter of time? Cleveland, Toronto, and Colorado could potentially use some infield insurance, to name a few possibilities. Let's hear some suggestions for the man who quietly posted a 4.6 WAR season in 2009 but still hasn't found a home.


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84 Comments on "Discussion: Felipe Lopez"


5 years 5 months ago

It would be false hustle for Omar Minaya to learn what WAR and UZR actually mean. Oh and we are really set at 2B with Castillo and Cora… God I hate Omar Minaya.

Eric
5 years 5 months ago

I’m still being lead to expect a deal that will send Jose Lopez away from the M’s. If this happens Felipe Lopez would be a good replacement until Ackley is ready to play in the Majors. Maybe a 1YR/3M deal for the switch hitting infielder?

5 years 5 months ago

Detroit makes a whole lot of sense for him. I’ve seen where they want to commit to Scott Sizemore at second, but he isn’t much of a prospect and has been injured much of the Winter.

I think Lopez would fit nicely in the 2 spot, and he makes more sense for them than Damon, who would just block A-Jax and cost more.

5 years 5 months ago

How would Damon block A-Jax when Damon will play left and Jackson in center?

I still think St. Louis is the perfect fit for Lopez, but think he makes some sense for the Indians. Just wish they added some pitching instead…

Hoosierdaddy92
5 years 5 months ago

Sizemore actually is a pretty heralded prospect in Mo-town, despite not being drafted super high. That being said, I agree that F-Lopez would be a good fit in Detroit. Damon wouldn’t block A-Jax, A-Jax would be in center. If anything, Damon would help insure Magglio’s option doesn’t vest or take away some AB’s from Carlos Guillen. If Detroit got both Damon and Lopez on one years deals, Damon 6MM and lopez 3MM, I’d argue that the Tigers will still compete in the AL Central without question.

alphabet_soup5
5 years 5 months ago

Damon wouldn’t block A-Jax, no way he’d play CF if Tigers got him. If you meant he’d block him from the leadoff spot, that’s true. Sizemore broke his ankle in the AFL, and he’s rehabbing it and will be 100% for spring training. As for Sizemores ability, I think he’ll be just fine in the majors. .308/.359/.500 between AA and AAA this year.

Detroit just needs to not make any dumb deals or commitments (2/$14M for Damon) and let their rookies develop. If only one of Damon/Lopez is signed and they want to play LF, then I would see no problems. But Jackson needs to develop in CF, and Sizemore needs to develop at 2B.

5 years 5 months ago

Well, if Damon plays left that means Guillen DH’s, and Rayburn is on the bench, yeah? And that’s not really an option, since he had a fine year in ’09.

If they sign Damon, I’d think A Jax would season in the minors and they’d play Rayburn in center.

I think their best lineup would be Jackson, Lopez, Ordonez, Cabrera, Guillen, Inge, Rayburn, Laird and Everett. And that would leave them a few coins to sign another reliever, which they could use.

alphabet_soup5
5 years 5 months ago

The only thing Damon really brings to the team as far as the game goes is a leadoff hitter. As of now, Guillen plays LF and Ordonez plays RF, but both are expected to be the main DH’s, so that gives Thomas and Raburn (mainly Raburn) some regular at-bats. Raburn could play center, but he isn’t the best defensively and I believe is best in left field. I do agree that Raburn should get some regular playing time, he did have a pretty impressive season and if they sign Damon for that long, he’s basically trade-bait.

Overall, I believe that Sizemore’s going to get his chance to play. Detroit didn’t offer Polanco arbitration, and there’s been no rumors at all of looking for a 2B. It’s been said Jackson could use some seasoning in the minors, but he should be acceptable in the MLB.

The Tigers are pretty stacked at the bottom of their bullpen, but I agree they could use another long-relief man. Right now they’re probably just gonna use Coke and who doesn’t earn the 5th starting job, coming out of Miner, Galarraga, Robertson, Willis. I don’t expect Willis to earn any job, but who knows.

BrokeBat
5 years 5 months ago

I agree with your assessment Corey. Bringing in Damon at the rumored $14MM, 2-yr. deal is just throwing away a lot of money that could be more wisely invested for the team. Damon playing outfield in Comerica Park regularly should be a frightening enough thought to make the Tigers seriously reconsider. Lopez brings a much more complete package to Detroit and gives them a lot of flexibility – and the ideal #2 hitter.

5 years 5 months ago

White Sox. He can play the field and can also DH.

jterp09
5 years 5 months ago

Lopez had a better 2009 than Tejada? What are you smoking?

Steve_Adams
5 years 5 months ago

Tejada hit .313/.340/.455 for a .795 OPS and had a pretty terrible -12.4 UZR/150. He was a 2.6 WAR player.

Lopez, as stated, hit .310/.383/.427 for an .810 OPS and played strong defense at second base. He was a 4.6 WAR player and one of the most underrated players in baseball in 2009.

alxn
5 years 5 months ago

Who knows how well Tejada could have fielded at 2B?

Steve_Adams
5 years 5 months ago

No one, but that doesn’t change the fact that Lopez’s good defense and good offense make his 2009 campaign better all-around than Tejada’s good offense and bad fielding. You can come up with a hypothetical way to suggest Tejada would’ve fielded just as well at second as Lopez did (which I wouldn’t buy anyway), but it doesn’t matter. Tejada played shortstop in 2009, and he did it poorly. Lopez played second base, and he did it very well.

Even if you want to throw defense out, Lopez posted a higher OPS (.810 vs .795) and OPS+ (111 vs. 109) than Tejada last season.

jterp09
5 years 5 months ago

You’re right. I didn’t realize what a nice season Lopez had. Still, I think it’s pretty debatable who had the better season. As a run producer, Tejada was better. It was Lopez’ walks that made his numbers nice, but he also struck out 100 times to Tejada’s 48.

Steve_Adams
5 years 5 months ago

Tejada’s role was to be a run-producer. He spent over half his games batting third and fifth in 2009, while Lopez hit leadoff in 140 of his 151 games. Tejada only struck out 48 times sure, but he also only drew 19 walks (two of which were intentional), for a 2.8% walk rate. He’s good at making contact, but he most likely swings too much for his own good. The league average BB% was more than 3x what Tejada managed. Tejada only saw 3.4 pitches per plate appearance, and his BB% was second-worst among players who played a full season. Only Bengie Molina had a lower percentage (2.5%).

Still, I’ll agree that their offensive numbers are comparable (though I prefer Lopez’s), which is why I made sure to qualify that his all-around season was better. When you add in his defense, I don’t think it’s close at all.

Steve_Adams
5 years 5 months ago

Tejada’s role was to be a run-producer. He spent over half his games batting third and fifth in 2009, while Lopez hit leadoff in 140 of his 151 games. Tejada only struck out 48 times sure, but he also only drew 19 walks (two of which were intentional), for a 2.8% walk rate. He’s good at making contact, but he most likely swings too much for his own good. The league average BB% was more than 3x what Tejada managed. Tejada only saw 3.4 pitches per plate appearance, and his BB% was second-worst among players who played a full season. Only Bengie Molina had a lower percentage (2.5%).

Still, I’ll agree that their offensive numbers are comparable (though I prefer Lopez’s), which is why I made sure to qualify that his all-around season was better. When you add in his defense, I don’t think it’s close at all.

osodani
5 years 5 months ago

The guy is a clubhouse cancer. Released by the Nats for dogging it, let go by the Cards after a very good stretch run. Traded by the DBacks, and ignored by the Brewers. Nobody wants his tired act, even though all of those clubs could really use a 2b.

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Clearly no one is interested in FLop, even given the good stats.

Taskmaster75
5 years 5 months ago

Well, time to dispell this rumor.

Let me ask you a question. If your team was the worst in MLB, would you give your hardest? It’s a primary question, since that was Lopez’s situation. When he went to the Cards and played great, there was absolutely no reports of clubhouse friction. In fact, he became a friend of Albert Pujols, and was deeply saddened that St. Louis would not resign him. Arizona never reported any misdoings either, and from what I hear, neither has Milwaukee.

So, I am tired of the stupid garbage that flows around about his so called bad attitude. Even if he did “dogg” it with the Nats, it’s forgivable, and his next few contracts shouldn’t be taken away because of that short stint.

osodani
5 years 5 months ago

Sorry Taskmaster, but that is not forgivable, not at all.

People pay hard earned money to go to games, and when you are seeing a bad team it is even MORE important that the guys play hard for their fans. It was embarrassing as a fan when this multi-millionaire could hardly
be bothered to field a grounder or run down a pop-up.

Are we really expecting too much for baseball players to play hard for their team, their teammates, and their fans? I hope that my son, just starting T-ball, never learns the lesson that it’s ok to just give up if your team isn’t very good.

alphabet_soup5
5 years 5 months ago

Wouldn’t you be upset if you gave it all and your team still lost? He probably learned he had little impact on winning or losing, and gave up. Imagine how Pedro Martinez felt when he had a perfect game after 9 innings, but it didn’t count because his own team didn’t put up any runs and he gave up a hit in the 10th. He’s a great pitcher, and he always gives his hardest. But I understand where Felipe is coming from and if he is seen as a clubhouse problem, it is the teams own fault for not playing at a higher level.

Taskmaster75
5 years 5 months ago

Yes, it is sad that people that make millions of dollars can slack off and still make that money. It’s the system we have unfortunately. However, let’s look at last year. The Diamondbacks, a team that STRUGGLED straight out of the gate by losing Webb in a great division, were his first team. He performed very well despite that, and when traded to the Brewers, a team who at that point was out of the NL Central, and still performed masterfully. This evidence along with the fact that his performance while on the Cards despite the Central being locked up by the Cubs and the Brewers proves that quitting is NOT part of his personality.

His experience with the Nats must have stemmed from either a disagreement with the coach or something, but claiming that he is thoroughly corrupt inside and out due to one incident is excessive.

No, we would all love to think that the world is perfect and people will do what is supposed to be done, but that isn’t the case, and you just have to deal with it.

humbb
5 years 5 months ago

“Even if he did “dogg” it with the Nats, it’s forgivable, and his next few contracts shouldn’t be taken away because of that short stint.”

Well I think he’s finding out now (right or wrong) that he’s paying a harsh penalty for that short stint.

Bad planning, Felipe! And all you non-superstar young players out there: don’t dog it. It will come back and bite you where the sun don’t shine.

If you are a superstar player, never mind. It doesn’t seem to matter.

Iron_Mike
5 years 5 months ago

You are calling for comments and all of us here in the ether have are questions…why has it been implied that this guy is damn near a clubhouse cancer? He’s not a drug addict or a terrorist which leaves us with (gasp!) the dreaded g-word…this guy is really good, and deserves a roster spot with someone…is it really Boras’ fault he is still unemployed?

osodani
5 years 5 months ago

Anybody who attended a Nats game in 2008 could tell you that he had simply given up on his team. He was jogging after balls in the field, careless on the basepaths, and generally indifferent. It says a lot that they couldn’t even trade him for a class C prospect, and then, rather than try to eke out any value they could from him, the Nats simply cut bait instead. There were reports that the Nats players were ecstatic when he was released.

Since then, he hasn’t lasted more than a few months on 3 different teams.

In DC, FLop is a pariah, and I’m clearly biased after having had to sit and watch this guy for too too long. Maybe he’s a changed man, but having seen his past 4 teams get rid of him, it’s clear that he’s not worth it.

I hope he signs with the Mets 😉 Maybe the Nats would have a better shot at escaping the cellar.

This

SRT
5 years 5 months ago

It must be tough being a Nats fan….

As bad as that triple A team the Mets were forced to field last year, the Nats still couldn’t manage to lose less than the Mets did. Considering they expect to have all players back healthy this year (with an obvious delay for Beltran), the Nats will really need to step up their play to pass the Mets in the standings this year.

bjsguess
5 years 5 months ago

Mets Payroll in 2009 = $149m
Nats Payroll in 2009 = $60m

Your $89m MORE than the Nats bought you exactly 11 more worthless wins than the worst team in baseball. How you can call out ANY team after your 09 season is completely beyond me. And cry me a river about your injuries. Every team gets them. Sure the Mets were impacted more than most teams but that is hardly an excuse for what you guys passed off as baseball last year.

5 years 5 months ago

Name me one team in history that has had that many injuries, if the phillies lost howard rollins werth and 3 starters and utley had a sub par year (d wright), you could not tell me they would have won. What team plans on starting 7 backups on a daily basis during the season? We had more payroll on the DL then they had on the field. I’m not garunteeing anything but don’t hate on a team with stupid comments, when that team is in fact the winningest team in the National League over the past 4 years. One bad year, thats all, its over , get over it. Mets will win 85 plus, the talents there, plain and simple.

bjsguess
5 years 5 months ago

The guy was in a walk year. With EVERY other player who plays above his head in his walk year you always hear “fluke”. Somehow it doesn’t apply in this case. He has had exactly ONE year outside of 2009 when he posted above average offensive numbers and that was back in 2005. I’m calling it like I see it – he had an outlier year. To expect a repeat of 2009 would be foolish.

Then you throw in the fact that he DID quit on his team (inexcusable under ANY circumstance) and you have the makings of a very questionable signing.

Go ahead, scoop him up. Just don’t be surprised when he is nothing more than an after-thought by July.

idahopirate
5 years 5 months ago

Perhaps this is an opportunity to get a real player at SS in Pittsburgh? We have two below-average utility guys competing for the starting spot, assuming each will hit 8th in the order. To sign Lopez would mean they would also have a player to hit in the #1 slot in the event that McCutchen outgrows his spot there (much like McLouth did a couple years ago). His SS defense is certainly at least approaching that of Cedeno and he will hit and take a walk on occasion (*eye roll*). However, Pittsburgh will not spend much for him. While this frustrates many fans, I agree with Pittsburgh not spending $5+M on someone, even Lopez. However, they should make him an offer for whatever they are willing to spend and see what happens… $2M? $2.5M? $3M? After all, he no longer has Boras!

kamholz24
5 years 5 months ago

The Cubs easily. He can bat leadoff and he is far better than the combo of Jeff Baker and Mike Fontenot. It just another poor decision by Jim Hendry.

rockiesfan_303
5 years 5 months ago

Yeah Lopez definetly sounds like a better option for the club. It seems now everyone is just waiting to see how low Lopez goes.

5 years 5 months ago

I agree with you, if hendry had a brain he wouldve used the money he wasted on broke down has beens beens, to actually fill a need for the cubs

cubfanmurf
5 years 5 months ago

Yep. I actually stated back in NOVEMBER on the cubs board that they should have went after him. Versatile like DeRosa and a switch hitter. He could play 2b and also give breaks to others who need it. Lead off man as well. I would have much rather had him for 2-3 yrs instead of Byrd. I said to offer 2 yrs at 8.5 mill (4 mill this year and 4.5 next year) with a club option for 3rd yr with a 500K buyout. But alas, another opportunity missed out on.

HalfSt
5 years 5 months ago

It isn’t an honest discussion unless you mention what might be the reason why people aren’t signing Lopez. Again, for the 10th time, he dogged it for the Nationals until he was released, and then played well for his next team when he felt like it. You can’t be sure what you will get with him, so he deserves to languish longer than other players. He will make his money, fear not. I just want him as far from DC as possible.

rockiesfan_303
5 years 5 months ago

Cardinals is the most logical choice. Hopefully for him he can go out there and prove that he can play better than Feliz/Hudson once again.

rockiesfan_303
5 years 5 months ago

On the Rockies note, I would like to see him come to Coors but that likely means Barmes is gone, which i am not too opposed to, but I don’t think the Rocks are ready to give up on him just yet. It will be interesting.

Bravoboy10
5 years 5 months ago

The Mets still make perfect sense for him as a super utility player. He can play SS,2B,3B, and has played some corner outfield. With the quesion mark of Reyes health and the mediocrity of Castillo there may be 100 starts available for him in all, plus 60 pinch hits so 450 PA’s isn’t bad.

epicphalanx
5 years 5 months ago

Lopez isn’t short on talent, but I’ve never seen an everyday play dog it like he did with the Nats in ’08 prior to his release. It was past unprofessional.

MrBlue
5 years 5 months ago

The Dodgers could really use him and now they don’t have to deal with Borass anymore. Blake DeWitt deserves a chance but Coletti won’t give it to him, leaving us with Jamey Carroll and Ronnie Belliard to choose from…yuck. With only 1 solid starter and 4 ?s, we need as need as strong a defense behind the guys as we can, and those offensive stats are lookin very attractive. AND Felipe is a S/H and we have an almost all righty lineup. It works in so many ways that McCheap will never make it happen.

awalnoha
5 years 5 months ago

Why not in Huston. They have Matzui and Everett. Their stats together are not as good as Lopez.

BrewersDaily
5 years 5 months ago

I can’t believe how little interest Lopez has gathered. He posted a 4.6 WAR season last year. I wrote an article on it last week on my blog dedicated to the Brewers. Here is the link.

link to brewcrewdaily.blogspot.com

idahopirate
5 years 5 months ago

How long does it take to get things approved?

lewisjsl
5 years 5 months ago

What about Atlanta? The Braves could move Prado out to left and put Lopez at second. The Braves are looking for another outfielder in Damon already, this could give them a cheaper solution.

SRT
5 years 5 months ago

Not sure what Lopez’s expectations are for a contract offer. I thought with the economy being what it is, many would have a problem getting what they think they’re worth. However, I’ve seen many sign a contract for a pretty penny, but for a shorter duration than they probably would have got in the past.

If Lopez’s rep really is the problem with him getting what he thinks he’s worth, best thing he could do is take a one year contract with any team and prove them wrong.

dphill33
5 years 5 months ago

Larry Deluca is right on here. Lopez is a huge distraction if he doesn’t have something to play for personally.

In Milwaukee, he became a hugely productive and stabilizing influence in the lineup. Why? Because the clubhouse leader, Prince Fielder, was hitting behind him. Prince is a strong willed guy, who keeps both the lineup and the clubhouse glued together.

Lopez did have his occassional lapse in concentration (getting picked off 1st base, etc.) but one steely gaze from Prince clears that up fast. Peer pressure is the way to get to Felipe.

Give him something to play for personally…in 2009 it was a new contract.
And put him in an environment where failure is UNACCEPTABLE, then he’ll be fine.

Give him a 1-year deal, put him in front of Braun/Prince or Holliday/Pujols, and he’s going to be gunning for another big season, which turns into a much bigger FA contract in 2011.