The 31-year-old backstop figures to serve as catching depth for the Braves in 2019. A key part of this equation for the Braves is that Lopez still has minor-league options remaining, per the Athletic’s David O’Brien (via Twitter).
Tyler Flowers will make up one part of Atlanta’s catching team for next year, but his partner from 2018, Kurt Suzuki, is currently a free agent. The Braves also had 28-year-old Carlos Perez, 36-year-old Chris Stewart, and 35-year-old Rene Rivera see limited time at the position last season. Rivera and Stewart are also free agents whom you can track with our 2018-19 free agent tracker.
Lopez came up in the Cubs’ system after they selected him in the 16th round of the 2011 draft. For his career, Lopez has hit .184/.270/.322 across 76 games in the big leagues. He has spent time with the Cubs, Angels, Reds, Tigers, Blue Jays and Padres organizations, getting some major-league roster time in each of the last three seasons with the Reds, Blue Jays, and Padres, respectively.
For the Padres, this move is likely motivated by a desire to clear a roster spot. They are facing a roster crunch ahead of December’s Rule 5 draft, so moving Lopez is the first of what could be many moves to shake up their 40-man roster.