Non-Tender Candidate: Jose Lopez

Heading into this season, the 2011 option that the Mariners held for Jose Lopez seemed likely to be exercised. A $5MM price tag for a 26-year-old second baseman coming off a 25-homer season looked like a bargain.

With the season now winding down, however, the Mariners' decision doesn't look quite so obvious. Although he has provided the team better defense at third base than he did last year at second (according to UZR), Lopez's offensive production has fallen off a cliff. After hitting .272/.303/.463 in 2009, the infielder has seen his 2010 slash line slip to .240/.270/.331.

Lopez's down year means that the Mariners must now make a series of decisions this winter regarding his future. First, they'll have to decide if this season was an aberration for Lopez or whether they may have reason to expect more of the same next year. The 26-year-old was never adept at getting on base, but generally made up for it with his power stroke. With only seven home runs in 529 plate appearances this year, he's no longer doing that. Will he be able to get his slugging percentage back up to .450+ in 2011?

If the offensively challenged M's decide they'd like to have Lopez around next spring, they still have to determine whether to pick up or decline his option. Considering Lopez is making $2.75MM this year and his option is worth $5MM ($250K buyout), Seattle could elect to turn down the option and instead tender him a contract in his final arbitration-eligible season. Due to Lopez's struggles, whatever raise he would earn in arbitration should still see him earning less than the $4.75MM it would cost the team to exercise the option.

On the other hand, the Mariners could decide they don't have interest in retaining Lopez and his .298 career OBP at all, declining his option and then non-tendering him. What do you expect the Mariners to do? Click here to vote on their decision and click here to view the results.

22 Responses to Non-Tender Candidate: Jose Lopez Leave a Reply

  1. As much as I liked watching lopez perform at a decent level with the mariners, it’s time to see him off. Lopez does not fit in the future for Seattle and he is still not a good defensive third baseman. Figgins and Ackley will most likely become the third/second baemen.

  2. yazpik 5 years ago

    Obviously not, he is awful, Figgins will return to third, and Ackley will play second base , maybe these 4.5 millions are destinated to Branyan or a part of Adam Dunn contract

  3. There’s a 0% chance Lopez is with the Mariners next year.
    Worst wOBA of any qualified player in baseball save Cesar Izturis (who plays a good defensive SS, unlike Lopez who has negative defensive value).
    And Ackley is on the way.

    Pretty obvious non-tender.

    • $1529282 5 years ago

      Lopez has actually been a plus defender at third base his whole career. However, agreed, no chance he’s back in Seattle.

      Izturis, meantime, is a good, but not great shortstop. He’s been one of the most useless players in baseball for years now and somehow still finds work. There’s 16 players who have been worth more wins THIS SEASON alone than Izturis has over his 10+ year career. How the guy finds work is a mystery.

      • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

        Well let’s just be honest…The Orioles aren’t exactly making bobbleheads of the guy. The money isn’t outrageous but this isn’t a guy the Orioles have in their future plans.

  4. see ya jose. Maybe a change of scenery will do you good.

  5. mstrchef13 5 years ago

    Figgins has a higher career OPS by about 30 points. Why would they keep Lopez?

    • alphabet_soup5 5 years ago

      Figgins can (usually) get on base more, is a switch-hitter, plays defense all around the diamond, and has some speed on the basepaths. He has a low career OPS because his slugging is below average, but his other skills make up for that. Lopez has a low career OPS because, he might not be that great.

      Both have had horrible seasons, but at least Figgins is picking it up a little since the all-star break.

      1st half .235/.332/.276
      2nd half: .264/.333/.309

      1st half .240/.270/.340
      2nd half .239/.272/.310

  6. harmony55 5 years ago

    If the Mariners declined the option but tendered a contract, Jose Lopez would get a 2011 salary of at least $2.2 million (which represents the maximum 20 percent cut from his 2010 salary of $2.75 million). Lopez is not worth $2.2 million, as evidenced by his 0.3 WAR this season.

    No way the Mariners tender a contract.

  7. You know Minaya is just drooling at the thought of replacing Cora’s “role” with Lopez next year. Sadly in Omar’s eyes, Lopez still will not be overpaid enough to replace the great Castillo as the $6 million dollar waste at 2nd base, but merely the $2 million dollar scrub utility bum.

    • alphakira 5 years ago

      As a Met fan, I would happily offer Seattle Castillo + $ for Lopez and see what they think.

      • damnitsderek 5 years ago

        As a Mariner fan, I would happily offer New York Lopez for a Luis Castillo bobblehead.

      • damnitsderek 5 years ago

        As a Mariner fan, I would happily offer New York Lopez for a Luis Castillo bobblehead.

    • Just_MLB 5 years ago

      Minaya or Jeff Wilpon ? The Mets ( who make 900 mil a year ) had Minaya flying coach on a plane to Chicago this weekend. I don’t think scrapping in the bargain basement for players is something any GM wants to do. Especially one that wants to win now to save his job.

      But to be honest, the first thing i thought when i read this was…and now here is your starting 2B for the mets….Jose Lopez…

      If you get Jose Lopez, you can just out-right release Castillo and have a low-cost, low-risk, high-reward player at 2B.

      the fact that you have to eat Castillo’s salary in the mets eyes, no longer makes Jose Lopez a low-risk player, the mets ownership has always viewed high salary with high value. not high performance with high value. thats why if a rookie making 400K can vastly outperform a veteran making 20 million, they will still play the veteran and skip the rookie. Winning is not the priority, looking good ( or rather not looking bad for previous mistakes) is.

      • Just_MLB 5 years ago

        for the record, i would happily just stick with youth…roll with ruben tejada and eventually see if havens can compete for the position in 2012. there are no bonafide 2B prospects out there, so there is no point trading for another bad contract or signing another dud when u have havens coming up in the wings and tejada is decent enough defensively and can be ur 8th hitter.

        the mets will probably roll out a 2011 lineup close to this

        1- Reyes -11 mil
        2- Pagan ( RF ) 2 mil
        3- Bay ( LF ) 16 mil
        4- Beltran ( CF ) – 13.5 mil ( 5 deferred = 18.5 mil)
        5- Wright ( 3B ) – 14 mil
        6- Davis ( 1B ) – league min
        7- Thole ( C ) – league min
        8- Tejada ( 2B ) – league min

        so thats roughly 56 million in your entire starting lineup….( assuming castillo gets released or traded this off-season )

        • Jerryek 5 years ago

          How did this turn into a Met’s rosterbation session? Aren’t we talking about the M’s and Jose Lopez?????

          • Just_MLB 5 years ago

            ur right !
            whoever said that is probably just another self-centered New Yorker who thinks everything revolves NYC

          • alphakira 5 years ago

            So the article asks “what should the M’s do?” and it’s wacky for us to create scenarios involving our own team? What world are you living in in which this isn’t acceptable?

          • Just_MLB 5 years ago

            shhhhh….this does not jive with the theory that all ny’ers are self-centered.

  8. Jose Lopez sucks…and there is no way the M’s have a future rolling Lopez out every night.

  9. Jose Lopez sucks…and there is no way the M’s have a future rolling Lopez out every night.

  10. Jose Lopez sucks…and there is no way the M’s have a future rolling Lopez out every night.

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