Jose Lopez Rumors
The Indians announced that they signed infielder Jose Lopez to a minor league deal that includes an invitation to Spring Training. The team also officially announced the signing of Felix Pie to a minor league deal.
Lopez, 28, spent the 2011 season with the Rockies and Marlins and appeared at first, second and third base. He posted a .216/.245/.372 line for a second consecutive disappointing season at the plate. Lopez, who hit 25 home runs just two seasons ago, is a right-handed bat who could add some balance to a lefty-heavy Indians lineup. He has a career OPS of .713 against left-handed pitchers.
In an effort to balance out their predominantly left-handed lineup, the Indians are in serious talks with infielder Jose Lopez according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. This is another indication that the team is beginning to sour on Matt LaPorta.
Lopez, 28, provides a right-handed bat and some versatility, having spent considerable time at all four infield spots throughout his career. He hit just .216/.245/.372 with eight homers in 242 plate appearances for the Rockies and Marlins this past season, but he'd hit .285/.313/.453 in the two season prior to that. Lopez is a .278/.312/.400 career hitter against southpaws.
On this date in 1973, Tom Seaver of the Mets won the NL Cy Young award, becoming the first pitcher to take home the prize with fewer than 20 wins. We checked in on the Mets earlier tonight; here are some updates on their division rivals...
- Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post gets the sense that the Marlins could convince Javier Vazquez to return for another season if they offer him $10MM for 2012.
- The Marlins have some interest in re-signing Greg Dobbs, but not in bringing Jose Lopez back, according to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald.
- There's "nothing substantial" developing between the Nationals and free agent outfielder Laynce Nix, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. The sides have discussed a deal for 2012 and Nix has interest in returning to D.C. for another season.
- David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution doubts that the Braves would dangle Jair Jurrjens in trade talks because his knee injury reduces his trade value (Twitter link). Jurrjens spent much of August on the disabled list with a right knee strain and didn't pitch in September.
Here's where we'll keep track of the latest players to get outrighted to the minors...
- The Marlins outrighted Jose Lopez to Triple-A, according to MLB.com's transactions page. They had designated the infielder for assignment over the weekend, less than a month after signing him. The 27-year-old has a .188/.219/.260 line this year in 160 plate appearances for the Marlins and their expansion cousins, the Rockies.
The veteran owns a career slash line of .262/.294/.393 but has an OPS of just .478 thus far in 2011.
Lopez, 27, hit just .208/.233/.288 in 129 plate appearances for Colorado, which is why they designated him for assignment late last month. The Marlins would only owe Lopez the pro-rated portion of the league minimum if they called him up; the Rockies are on the hook for the rest of his $3.6MM salary.
JUNE 7TH: The Rockies officially released Lopez, according to their Twitter page.
MAY 26TH: The Rockies designated infielder Jose Lopez for assignment, according to MLB.com's Thomas Harding (on Twitter). It has been a busy night for the Rockies, who sent Felipe Paulino to Kansas City earlier this evening.
Lopez, 27, has played second and third base for the Rockies this year, posting a .210/.234/.290 line. His .264/.295/.396 career line reflects his limited on-base skills and modest power. The 2006 All-Star averaged 15 homers per season for the 2006-10 Mariners.
Earlier tonight, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that the Rockies were looking to add athleticism to their bench. Lopez, who earns $3.6MM this year, was generating minimal trade interest, according to Rosenthal. Jon Heyman of SI.com notes that the Blue Jays and Indians had some interest in Lopez over the winter (Twitter link).
With plenty of baseball still going on, here are some Saturday evening Quick Hits..
- Jonny Gomes is slumping badly for the Reds (.168/.302/.366 coming into today), and ESPN's Buster Olney doubts they'll be patient and wait until the trade deadline to see if he snaps out of it (Twitter link).
- Despite interest from the Giants, Ivan Rodriguez told Nationals GM Mike Rizzo that he wants to stay with the team according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson.
- Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times wonders if this could be the end of the line for Jose Lopez. The veteran infielder was DFA'd by the Rockies earlier this week.
- The Diamondbacks have managed to turn their bullpen around without spending big bucks, writes Tyler Kepner of the New York Times.
- A National League executive told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter) that with so many teams are hovering around the .500 mark, many don't know if they're buyers or sellers yet.
The Rockies are dissatisfied with their lack of athleticism and plan to shake up their bench, major-league sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The players that are most in jeopardy are infielders Alfredo Amezaga and Jose Lopez while they seem sweet on the idea of promoting Eric Young Jr. and Chris Nelson.
Lopez has a minor-league option remaining, but his five-plus years of Major League service allow him to reject a demotion and choose free agency. If that happens, Rosenthal writes that he would likely clear waivers and sign a Triple-A contract elsewhere. Lopez is signed to a one-year, $3.6MM contract and sources say that he's generating minimal trade interest.
The versatile Amezaga would also be exposed to waivers if the Rockies tried to demote him to Triple-A.
The Rockies would listen to trade offers for Jose Lopez, but no talks are going on at the moment, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (Twitter links). Though the Rockies have been impressed with Jonathan Herrera's spring, they would like to see Lopez hit at Coors Field before striking a deal, according to Renck.
The Rockies acquired Lopez from the Mariners for Chaz Roe in December, so he has yet to play an official game for Colorado. The Rockies are looking for a bounce-back year from Lopez, who hit .239/.270/.339 in 622 plate appearances last year. Lopez can play second and third base and will earn $3MM this year.