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.