Javier Lopez Rumors
Let's continue our series looking at each team's top trade chips with the NL Central...
- Astros: Teams can ask for Hunter Pence, but it's just not happening. 26-year-old catcher J.R. Towles and his five years of team control could be shopped with top prospect Jason Castro coming up behind him. If Houston falls way out of it, Roy Oswalt could be made available, but it would be a massive PR hit. He's owed $31MM through 2011 with a $16MM option ($2MM buyout) for 2012, and would have to approve any trade. Dealing him would signify the start of a full rebuilding effort.
- Brewers: Yovani Gallardo was never going to be moved in the first place, but his new contract extension all but guarantees it. Manny Parra seems to have fallen out of favor, but a lefty who can dial it up to the mid-90's will always have value on the trade market. He still has three years of arbitration eligibility ahead of him.
- Cardinals: The Cards dealt away most of their top prospects for Matt Holliday and Mark DeRosa last year, so there's not much left to move. Triple-A catcher Bryan Anderson and Double-A outfielder Daryl Jones could be used in a trade since the big league team is pretty well set at those positions. Jones is more highly regarded of the two. Colby Rasmus is untouchable, obviously.
- Cubs: Josh Vitters, the third overall pick in 2007, watched his name pop up in trade rumors involving Jake Peavy last year. If Chicago is willing to eat some of the $26.5MM left on his contract, there would be interest in Kosuke Fukudome.
- Pirates: Neal Huntington has completely turned over the team's roster since taking over in September 2007, dealing away every notable veteran player. He did, however, build up a nice inventory of veteran relievers this offseason. Octavio Dotel, D.J. Carrasco, Brendan Donnelly, and Javier Lopez could all be used as trade fodder this summer.
- Reds: Cincinnati is clearly a team on the rise, but one young player they could make available is the blocked Yonder Alonso. The power hitting first baseman masquerading as a left fielder in Double-A has all six years of team control left, and is the best trade chip in the division.
The Pirates signed left-hander Javier Lopez, as first noted by a team press release on December 18th. Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says the deal is worth $775K with another $550K in appearance-based performance bonuses.
Lopez struggled through 14 appearances with the Red Sox last year, but enjoyed prior success in Boston. The 32-year-old pitched to a 2.70 ERA from 2006-08, allowing fewer hits than innings pitched. That ERA may be a little deceptive, given his strikeout rate (5.8 K/9) and walk rate (4.2 BB/9) during the three-year period, but Lopez does have major league success to build on in Pittsburgh.
Kovacevic notes that Lopez is the only lefty reliever on the Pirates' 40-man roster. Talking to Lopez, Kovacevic learned that part of the appeal of Pittsburgh was the opportunity to pitch to both righties and lefties and possibly toss multiple innings per appearance.
Tim Dierkes contributed to this post.
According to Joe McDonald of the Providence Journal, Javier Lopez has cleared waivers and accepted an assignment to Triple-A Pawtucket. The left-hander was DFA'd last week in order to clear roster space for Daniel Bard. Lopez, who had posted a 9.26 ERA through 11 2/3 innings in the bigs, hopes to work his way back to Boston this season.