The Royals announced Friday that right-hander Jorge Lopez has been designated for assignment. He’d been on the bereavement list, and because he’s out of minor league options, had to either be added back to the 28-man roster or designated for assignment. The Kansas City front office clearly didn’t feel that Lopez was among the team’s 28 best options, so he’ll now await the resolution of his DFA status. The Royals have a week to trade Lopez, release him or run him through outright waivers.
Lopez, 27, ranked among baseball’s 100 best prospects prior to the 2016 season but has never pieced things together at the game’s top level. The former second-rounder went from Milwaukee to K.C. alongside outfielder Brett Phillips in the trade that initially brought Mike Moustakas to the Brewers. Lopez, however, has logged 190 innings in the Majors between the two teams and stumbled to a 5.97 ERA with a pedestrian 157-to-70 K/BB ratio. He’s struggled quite a bit in Triple-A as well, and while the Pacific Coast League is notoriously hitter-friendly, a 6.31 ERA and 11 hits per nine innings pitched still doesn’t reflect well.
Lopez does average 94 mph on his sinker and generate grounders at an above-average rate, but his lack of minor league options might make it tough for another club to claim him.