Javier Lopez Rumors

Giants Sign Javier Lopez

NOVEMBER 26: The Giants confirmed the deal via press release.

NOVEMBER 21: Giants GM Brian Sabean has shown an affinity for retaining his own guys, even if it comes at top-of-the-market value, and he's done so again by agreeing to terms with left-hander Javier Lopez on a three-year deal. Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area tweets that contract that has been in the works is a done deal, pending a physical. Lopez-JavierIt's reported to guarantee Lopez, a client of Meister Sports Management, $13MM for his age 36-38 seasons. An official announcement is expected today.

Lopez, 36, pitched to a 1.83 ERA with 8.5 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 39 1/3 innings in 2013, primarily working as a lefty specialist for the Giants. Lopez was incredibly good in that role, limiting opposing left-handers to a minuscule .156/.208/.222 slash line.

Lopez's previous contract paid him $8.5MM over a two-year term, so in terms of average annual value, his new contract gives him a yearly raise from $4.25MM to $4.33MM. That's not an exorbitant raise, but it's probably fair to question the decision to guarantee three years to a reliever who will turn 37 next July.

Lopez was clearly one of the top lefty relievers on the market, if not the top lefty on the market. Now that he has a new contract in hand — and a lucrative one at that — southpaws Boone Logan, J.P. Howell and Scott Downs stand to benefit from what they hope will be a market-setting deal.

The Giants' relief corps figures to be solid in 2014, with Lopez, Jeremy Affeldt and Santiago Casilla forming a bridge to photo-bombing bullpen anchor Sergio Romo. Sabean has already been highly active in the past few months, agreeing to extensions with Hunter Pence and Tim Lincecum in addition to inking Tim Hudson to bolster the team's rotation.

Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area first tweeted that the Giants were fully engaged in contract talks with Lopez. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports added that it would be a multiyear deal (Twitter link), Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported that it'd be a three-year deal (on Twitter), and Steve Berman reported the $13MM value. Rosenthal also tweeted earlier today that the guarantee language was the last remaining aspect needing to be ironed out.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Quick Hits: Closers, Twins, Narveson, Kinsler, Lopez

The Red Sox' recent experience shows the need for teams to be flexible at the closer position, writes ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. The Sox traded four players last offseason to get Joel Hanrahan (and infielder Brock Holt), but Hanrahan quickly went down with an elbow injury. They then replaced him with Andrew Bailey, and then Koji Uehara, who pitched brilliantly. The Red Sox weren't the only playoff team that changed closers for one reason or another, Crasnick notes — so did the Cardinals, Pirates, Tigers, Dodgers and Indians. That's worth keeping in mind this offseason, where the market for closers includes Joe Nathan, Grant Balfour, Joaquin Benoit, Brian Wilson, Fernando Rodney and Edward Mujica. Here are more notes from around the big leagues.

  • The Twins are interested in starting pitchers Gavin Floyd and Chris Capuano, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. Floyd's agent, Mike Moye, says his client is progressing well in his return from Tommy John surgery, and Berardino suggests Floyd will be ready to go by the time spring training games begin. The Twins' top target is still Bronson Arroyo, Berardino notes.
  • One under-the-radar starting pitcher on the free agent market is Chris Narveson, who pitched this winter for Licey, in the Dominican. A number of scouts have their eyes on Narveson, Crasnick tweets. Narveson missed much of the 2012 and 2013 seasons due to injury, but was a reliable member of the Brewers' rotation in 2010 and 2011.
  • Ian Kinsler could block trades to all but ten teams, but he didn't put the Tigers on the list because he liked their chances of winning a championship, John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press reports. That's what allowed the Rangers to deal Kinsler to Detroit. "I’m really excited," he says. "Our chance to win the World Series is better than anyone's."
  • Reliever Javier Lopez, who recently signed for three years and $13MM, figures he might have been able to get similar money elsewhere, but he chose to stay with the Giants because he's happy in San Francisco, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. "In my case, I felt I wanted to be in a comfortable setting first and in a place that I feel has a chance to win. That’s why I chose San Francisco," he says. "I knew the offers would be around the same dollars, so it was just a matter of happiness." 

NL West Notes: Lopez, Kemp, Rockies, Padres

The Giants and Javier Lopez have finalized a three-year, $13MM contract, pending a physical, and Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that the exam may not take place until next week. Here's more out of the NL West…

  • Matt Kemp doesn't want to be traded, but he's accepted the fact that it's a possibility and rumors of potential deals aren't going away, agent Dave Stewart tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The Mariners have been linked to Kemp, and Rosenthal adds that the Rangers spoke with the Dodgers at the GM Meetings as well, though they consider Kemp's contract too prohibitive. Kemp's preference, should he be traded, is too end up with a winning team, but Stewart made it clear that Kemp's desire is to spend his career in Dodger blue. 
  • Even though they have a deal in place for veteran right-hander LaTroy Hawkins to be their closer, the Rockies say the job of rebuilding their bullpen is not complete, writes Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post.  "We don't look at it like our bullpen is closed," assistant GM Bill Geivett said. "It's only Nov. 19, and we've just made one move, so we are still looking for ways to improve our club."  Joe Smith and Edward Mujica are among the options available, but they'll likely be seeking three-year comittments.
  • A left-handed hitter remains the Padres' priority, tweets Corey Brock of MLB.com.  A starting pitching upgrade wasn't at the top of the Pads' list this offseason, but Josh Johnson was a clear upgrade at the top of the rotation.

Steve Adams contributed to this post.

Giants Nearing Three-Year Deal With Javier Lopez

12:40pm: Lopez's deal will be worth $13MM over three years, according to Steve Berman, who also reported San Francisco's Tim Hudson signing this week.

WEDNESDAY, 10:42am: Lopez will receive a three-year deal, but the agreement is not yet finalized, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (on Twitter).

TUESDAY, 3:07pm: Giants vice president Bobby Evans tells Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio that the two sides have agreed on base salary and years but are still working out the other elements of the contract. There's nothing in writing yet, according to Evans (Twitter links).

2:33pm: The Giants close on multi-year deal with Lopez, a source tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). 

1:53pm: The Giants are "fully engaged" with Javier Lopez and hope to re-sign him in the near future, general manager Brian Sabean tells Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area (Twitter link).

Lopez, 36, pitched to a 1.83 ERA with 8.5 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 39 1/3 innings in 2013, primarily working as a lefty specialist for the Giants. Lopez was incredibly good in that role, limiting opposing left-handers to a minuscule .156/.208/.222 slash line.

Lopez just wrapped up a two-year, $8.5MM contract with the Giants and is said to be looking for another multiyear deal on the free agent market. The Giants acquired Lopez from the Pirates in exchange for John Bowker and Joe Martinez after the Buccos had signed him to a minor league deal in the 2009-10 offseason. He's spent the past three-and-a-half years with the Giants, earning a pair of World Series rings and posting a 2.26 ERA with 7.4 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 147 1/3 innings of relief.

Giants Notes: Hudson, Lopez, Arroyo, Haren

The Giants' two-year, $23MM deal with Tim Hudson is drawing praise from several pundits.  MLBTR's Steve Adams, Fangraphs' Dave Cameron and ESPN's Keith Law all see the contract as a possible steal for the Giants since even coming off a fractured ankle, Hudson doesn't carry as many question marks as other starters who may command much larger deals.  Here's some more on the Giants…

  • The Giants don't like any of the free agent options to fill their hole in left field and will look to trade for outfield help at the Winter Meetings, CSNBayArea.com's Andrew Baggarly reports.  The club could end up settling for a left-handed hitter to platoon with Gregor Blanco in left.
  • Also from Baggarly, the Giants have made some progress in talks with Javier Lopez.
  • The Giants are still looking for a left fielder and one more starting pitcher, ESPN's Buster Olney reports.  Olney guesses that Bronson Arroyo or Ryan Vogelsong could be that pitcher, depending on which contract is the better fit (Twitter links).  Vogelsong would obviously come at a much lower price than Arroyo, though if San Francisco could cheaply address their left field situation, I could see them spending extra to acquire Arroyo.
  • The Giants checked in on Dan Haren, Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Twitter link) but "other teams [were] far more aggressive," according to a source.  The Twins and Yankees have been linked to Haren so far this offseason.
  • Also from Schulman, it seems as if the Giants aren't going to offer any starter more than three guaranteed years.  This could keep them from landing Ricky Nolasco, who is looking for a four-year contract.

Mutual Interest Between Yankees, Javier Lopez

There's mutual interest between the Yankees and left-hander Javier Lopez, agent Barry Meister tells Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger. The two sides have had preliminary discussions and plan to have more substantial discussions later in the offseason once the Yankees have had time to address their biggest issues.

Lopez's primary goal, according to Meister, is to pitch on a contending team. "Of course, the Yankees are perennially that," he told McCullough. As McCullough notes, the Yankees have a need in the bullpen with Mariano Rivera retiring and Boone Logan hitting free agency.

Lopez, 36, pitched to a 1.83 ERA with 8.5 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 39 1/3 innings in 2013, primarily working as a lefty specialist for the Giants. Lopez was incredibly good in that role, limiting opposing left-handers to a minuscule .156/.208/.222 slash line. He's said to be looking for a multiyear deal on the free agent market after finishing up a two-year, $8.5MM contract with San Francisco.

Giants Notes: Sabean, Qualifying Offers, Lopez

Here's the latest from the Giants, courtesy of Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle

  • General manager Brian Sabean says it is "highly doubtful" that the Giants will sign a qualifying offer free agent since the team isn't keen on forfeiting its first round draft pick (14th overall) as compensation.  Sabean's thinking "could change up the line," as Schulman believes the Giants might only jump on such a player if teams are scared off by the draft pick price tag and the player can be had for a relatively low price, a la Kyle Lohse last offseason.
  • In addition to seeking free agent pitching, the Giants are also exploring the trade market for arms.  Schulman doesn't see Max Scherzer as a fit and he says the Giants aren't interested in Jake Peavy.  He calls John Lackey "an interesting case" but that could be just because of Lackey's relative bargain contract rather than any specific interest the Giants have in the Boston right-hander.
  • The Giants will listen to offers about players in their lineup but aren't interested in trading any since the team doesn't have any young replacements ready to step up.
  • One of the few depth positions San Francisco has is at catcher, and Schulman cites the Cubs and Twins are possible trade partners in that regard.
  • The Giants won't bid on Masahiro Tanaka if the current posting system is in place, Schulman reports (Sulia link).  The Giants are surely paying close attention to the ongoing negotiations between MLB and NPB about a new posting process.
  • Javier Lopez tells Schulman that he and the Giants are "continuing the dialog. No rush."  Other teams have called Lopez but Schulman suspects the southpaw would give the Giants a chance to match any offer (Twitter links).

Giants Notes: Hudson, Arroyo, Haren, Tanaka, Lopez

The Giants haven't needed to focus on upgrading their rotation in a while but the team is clearly looking to add starting pitching this winter.  Here's the latest out of San Francisco…

  • The Giants are looking at a long list of starters that includes Tim Hudson, Dan Haren and Bronson Arroyo, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports.  As many as a dozen pitchers could be on the club's wish list, Schulman says, though it isn't yet clear if the Giants will bid on Masahiro Tanaka (Twitter links).  Beyond the Giants, Hudson has drawn interest from seven other teams and is already considering an offer from the Braves.
  • The Giants are "well-positioned" to sign Arroyo, ESPN's Buster Olney tweets, though it depends on how the veteran righty's market develops.
  • The Giants are thought to prefer short-term deals for starters, MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince reports, which would explain their targeting of veteran arms like Haren or Hudson.  Since the Giants' rotation already has some solid pieces, Castrovince argues that GM Brian Sabean should focus most of his available resources on an offensive upgrade like Jacoby Ellsbury or Shin-Soo Choo.
  • Since signing Tanaka wouldn't cost the Giants draft pick compensation like some other top free agent pitchers, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle feels the team should put some of its new TV contract money towards acquiring the Japanese right-hander.   
  • Barry Meister, Javier Lopez's agent, tells MLB.com's Chris Haft that a "significant number" of teams have contacted him about his client but Meister is "continuing to talk to the Giants."  Both Lopez and the Giants share a mutual interest in continuing the southpaw's time in San Francisco though since Meister said he has only had "very preliminary" talks with other teams, the market has yet to fully develop for Lopez's services.

MLBTR's Jeff Todd also contributed to this post

Nicholson-Smith On McCann, Tanaka, Hudson, Johan

With free agency underway, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca reached out to 40 Major League Baseball executives and agents to gauge the markets for both pitchers and hitters. Here are just some of the highlights from each well-crafted analysis constructed by my former MLBTR colleague…

  • Brian McCann hasn't ruled out a return to the Braves, despite the fact that most pundits are projecting him to sign with an American League team on a contract that's far too expensive for Atlanta's liking. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes profiled McCann in September and predicted a five-year, $80MM deal.
  • Many executives and agents that spoke to Nicholson-Smith doubt that Robinson Cano actually has a chance at reaching the $300MM mark that he and agent Brodie Van Wagenen suggested last month.
  • Cuban catcher Yenier Bello is expected to work out for big league teams on Nov. 5 in Tijuana, Mexico. The powerful 28-year-old hasn't yet been cleared by the United States Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), though MLB cleared him a month ago.
  • While we've heard several scouts predict that Masahiro Tanaka won't live up to the ace standards set by Yu Darvish, Nicholson-Smith found that there are several teams that do view Tanaka as a potential ace/top-of-the-rotation starter.
  • Tim Hudson's agent, Paul Cohen of TWC Sports, told Nicholson-Smith that his client wants to play for two or three more seasons and is interested in signing a multiyear contract this winter. I profiled Hudson last month, projecting a one-year, $9MM contract, but noted that some teams may be interested at two years.
  • Johan Santana wants to return to the Majors and recently began throwing. The two-time AL Cy Young winner didn't pitch in 2013, but he should be able to generate interest as a high-upside signing that comes with little risk.
  • Javier Lopez is seeking a multiyear deal this winter after another strong season with the Giants, and Nicholson-Smith gets the sense that there are many non-closing relievers eyeing multiyear deals. He spoke to some executives who feel that left-handed relief is one of the strengths of this year's market.

Giants Notes: Abreu, Vogelsong, Lopez, Tanaka, Belt

Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com participated in a live chat with fans today and shared a number of Giants-related hot stove items…

  • The Giants "went hard after" Jose Dariel Abreu and offered the Cuban slugger a contract that paid him roughly the same average annual value of his six-year, $68MM deal with the White Sox.  The catch was that the Giants' offer wasn't six years long as they didn't want to make that long a commitment to a player that is projected by many scouts to be a future designated hitter.
  • Ryan Vogelsong's $6.5MM option won't be picked up by the Giants but Baggarly thinks the veteran righty will re-sign on a cheaper one-year deal with incentives.
  • There is mutual interest between the Giants and Javier Lopez, and the money saved by declining Vogelsong's option could help the club afford the veteran southpaw.
  • The Giants are "probably not" realistic players for Masahiro Tanaka, as Baggarly figures that his posting price will exceed what the Giants are willing to offer, plus big spenders like the Dodgers and Yankees are in the mix.  Baggarly reported in August that San Francisco had an interest in the Japanese righty.
  • Brandon Belt could be approached about a contract extension in Spring Training but the Giants will just work out a one-year deal in the meantime to cover Belt's first year of arbitration eligibility.  MLBTR's Matt Swartz projects Belt to earn $2.4MM in 2014 and MLBTR's Tim Dierkes suggests that Allen Craig's extension could be a model for a Belt extension, though with some adjustments since Belt is a Super Two player.
  • The Giants are looking only for "reliable innings guys" in their rotation so the likes of Roy Halladay, Tim Hudson and Josh Johnson will only draw the club's interest if they're healthy.
  • Though the Giants are looking for a right-handed power bat and might trade prospects to get one, the club is unlikely to move the likes of Kyle Crick, Edwin Escobar or Adalberto Mejia.
  • When it comes to left field, the Giants may prioritize defense.  Baggarly expects San Francisco to look for a left fielder in a trade rather than free agency.
  • Baggarly hasn't heard Scott Kazmir's name mentioned as a possibility in San Francisco.
  • Mark Trumbo "has his admirers in the [Giants] front office."  While the Angels are known to be willing to move Trumbo for young pitching talent, I'm not sure the Giants are a good trade partner given that they're looking for arms themselves.
  • Given Marco Scutaro's age, Brandon Phillips "makes a lot of sense" for the Giants.  Baggarly makes it clear that he's only speculating, however.  Phillips is rumored to be on the shopping block but Reds GM Walt Jocketty recently denied that he's talked about Phillips with other teams.
  • The Giants are very unlikely to surrender their first round (14th overall) draft pick to sign a free agent who has rejected a qualifying offer.  This could have a major impact on the chances of the team pursuing Bronson Arroyo, who could be extended a qualifying offer by the Reds.  Baggarly feels that Arroyo and Dan Haren are the free agent pitchers who are most likely to be San Francisco targets.
  • Recent Pablo Sandoval trade rumors are "total scuttlebutt," in Baggarly's opinion.