Javy Lopez Rumors

Javy Lopez Retires

After being reassigned to minor league camp by the Braves, Javy Lopez says he will retire.

"It didn’t happen in spring training," Lopez said. "This is the only chance I get. They give me the opportunity to come back and prove to myself that I can still play. I had the chance and didn’t do what I’m supposed to do, or at least not good enough."

The 37-year-old was banking on a comeback with the Braves, the team with which he played the bulk of his career (1992-2003), but his .188 average all but killed his chances of becoming Brian McCann’s backup.

The Braves still have Brayan Pena, Clint Sammons and Corky Miller competing for the backup catcher role.

Alejandro Leal writes for UmpBump.com and can be reached here.

Odds and Ends: Johan, Hudson, A-Rod, Dallas

Collection o’ links…

Rockies Rumors: Helton, Holliday, Matsui

Troy E. Renck is at it again, with another column updating us on the Rockies’ hot stove situation.

  • Todd Helton isn’t going anywhere, for multiple reasons.  His current $16.6MM salary is less frightening due to playoff revenue, and he’d be unlikely to approve a trade since his current team is already a winner.
  • As Renck reported earlier this week, the Rox will offer Matt Holliday a four-year, $60MM deal to buy out two years of free agency.  Holliday, a Scott Boras client, seems unlikely to accept anything like that.
  • Why would the Cubs be willing to overpay for Kaz Matsui with a three-year deal?  Surely the Cubs know Matsui has hit .256/.305/.370 away from Coors since joining the Rockies?  I don’t buy the speed angle – promote Eric Patterson, then.  I don’t buy the "make Fukudome comfortable angle" – sign a Japanese reliever, then.  The Rockies are fine moving on from Matsui and Yorvit Torrealba if their offers are beat.
  • Renck says Michael Barrett has drawn interest from six clubs so far, the Rockies one of them perhaps.  The Marlins could be another.
  • The Phillies won’t be going after Brian Fuentes now that they have Brad Lidge, but they weren’t pursuing him before Lidge anyway.  After the dust settles on Francisco Cordero and Mariano Rivera, the Tigers, Red Sox, Mets, and Yankees are expected to look at Fuentes.  The Rockies’ demand is aggressive for one year of the closer – a #3 starter and a decent reliever.
  • Matt Herges will look for a two-year deal; otherwise he’ll accept the Rockies one-year offer.
  • Javy Lopez is attempting a comeback!

Alay Soler, Javy Lopez Released

A couple of guys were released recently, but one should find work shortly. 

The Mets released Cuban defector Alay Soler, who did not fit into their rotation plans but was making decent money. Soler, apparently 28, has only made 12 pro starts in this country.  It was a cost-cutting move, as Soler would’ve made $620K at Triple A.  Seems odd for the Mets to be cutting costs.  He looked strong at Double A and below and would be a fine fit with the Nationals.

Javy Lopez was released yesterday by the Rockies.  He seems likely to retire unless the Braves will have him.  This should open the door for Chris Iannetta to get 400+ ABs.

Rockies Sign Javy Lopez

It’s a day later than expected, but the Rockies have signed catcher Javy Lopez.  He gets $750K, non-guaranteed.  The total possible value is $1.6MM.  I kind of understand the signing – teams are always reluctant to turn a pitching staff completely over to a rookie catcher (Chris Iannetta) while Yorvit Torrealba finished ’06 on the 60-day DL with a strained shoulder.

Lopez has caught just 38 games over the past two seasons, so the 36 year-old will have to get into shape if he wants playing time.

Rockies Close On Javy Lopez

Javy Lopez is expected to sign with the Rockies on Monday, according to the Denver Post.  Lopez will be in the catching mix with Chris Iannetta and Yorvit Torrealba.

I hate to see young Iannetta blocked, but Lopez only caught 38 games last year and 28 the year before.  Torrealba, meanwhile, needs to prove his health after ending ’06 on the 60-day DL for a strained shoulder.  He’s played in the Venezuelan Winter League recently.

Rockies Still High On Lawrence

Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post runs down the reasons the Rockies are the favorite for free agent pitcher Brian Lawrence: he wants to pitch in the NL West, and he grew up in Colorado.  Conversations are ongoing between Colorado and the soft-tossing righty.  The Giants and D’Backs could be interested as well.  While Lawrence is a year older and right-handed, is he otherwise much different than Mark Mulder right now? 

Additionally, Rodrigo Lopez is a possibility for the Rockies’ rotation.  It’s also been revealed that the Rockies are one of the six teams in on Chris Reitsma, along with the Reds.  And talks with Javy Lopez will be reignited this week.

Red Sox Acquire Javy Lopez

As you well know, the Red Sox have picked up their 3-5 week catcher replacement in Javy Lopez.  The Red Sox are sending 26 year-old outfielder Adam Stern to the Orioles in return. 

Multiple reports mention that the Devil Rays could claim Stern as revenge for the Red Sox illegally talking to Julio Lugo‘s agent.  Ah, the drama.  If the D-Rays try it the Red Sox can just send Stern as a player to be named later this winter. 

Lopez makes $8.5MM in the last year of his deal.  He’s another data point for not signing catchers over age 30 to multi-year deals.  Didn’t work well for Jason Kendall, Mike Lieberthal, and many others.  Jason Varitek declined drastically with the bat this season.  No catcher on the market this winter will get a long-term deal, anyway. 

Red Sox Pursuing Javy Lopez

Newspapers from both Boston and Baltimore are confirming that the Red Sox have contacted the Orioles about catcher Javy Lopez.  The 35 year-old Lopez has only caught twenty games this season, but he could certainly provide acceptable offense for the rest of the month until Jason Varitek comes back.

The Boston Herald indicates that Lopez could clear waivers today.  A source tells me that the Red Sox may part with 23 year-old southpaw starter Abe Alvarez.  Alvarez is the guy who wears his hat crooked to compensate for being legally blind in one eye.  He’s proven quite hittable in Triple A this year.  Back in June, the Red Sox offered Alvarez for Ryan Shealy.  Alvarez seems to get mentioned in a lot of trade rumors.

The Yankees wouldn’t be able to block a claim of Lopez, as they have a slight lead in the standings today.  It’s hard to picture another American League team blocking the claim, but you never know.  Should Lopez fall through, here are some other options the Red Sox might consider.  Among those, a couple of Philly papers have already indicated that the Sox aren’t interested in Mike Lieberthal.   

Red Sox Need A Catcher

Jason Varitek needs knee surgery, and WEEI in Boston is saying he may be out 4-6 weeks.  I’m sure Will Carroll will have the definitive word on this Wednesday morning.

In the meantime, the Red Sox are scrambling for a catcher who can hit above the Mendoza line.  They’re going to have to shop for the high-salary, waiver-passing guys.  Who’s available?

Javy Lopez is the first name that comes to mind.  Lopez wants a flat-out release, but the Orioles won’t do that.  According to the Baltimore Sun, the team would like to pass him through waivers and cover some, but not all, of his salary in a trade.  He’s only caught 20 games this year.  There’s always the possibility the Yankees put in a claim on Lopez just to thwart the Sox.  Lopez has worked with current Yankees Jaret Wright and Sidney Ponson before.

Bengie Molina was a name thrown out by Jerry Crasnick today as a possible waiver trade candidate.  Molina makes $5MM on the season and the Jays are 6.5 games back (3-7 in their last ten games).

Mike Lieberthal is in the last year of a huge contract with the Phillies.  Liebs has experience catching Mike Timlin and Curt Schilling.  As a 10 and 5 player he can reject any waiver claim.

Jason LaRue is a player the Reds wouldn’t mind sending off.  He makes $3.9MM this year and $5.2MM in ’07.  LaRue is not happy as Dave Ross‘s backup.

Rod Barajas is being pushed aside in Texas, and he’ll hit free agency after the season.  He was a teammate of Curt Schilling‘s for several years in Arizona.

UPDATE:  According to Will Carroll, Varitek’s procedure is minor and should keep him out about three weeks.