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. It'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.