Nance, 31, was designated for assignment by the Cubs on Friday. The righty made his MLB debut last year, tossing 28 2/3 innings out of the Cubs’ bullpen. His 7.22 ERA on the year was certainly unsightly, though there may have been some bad luck in there, as Nance’s 52.9% strand rate was about 20 points below league average. All of the advanced pitching metrics believed he deserved much better results. In 15 1/3 Triple-A innings last year, his ERA was much better at 2.35, along with excellent strikeout and walk rates of 31.6% and 5.3%. The Marlins clearly were able to see past the unfortunate results in the big leagues last year in order to focus on his potential. Since Nance still has options, he could be sent to the minors for extra bullpen depth.
As for Lopez, 29, this is yet another trip to DFA limbo for him, a place he’s spent a good deal of time in the past year. After being designated by the Diamondbacks in May, he was traded to the Braves, who designated him again in November, being claimed by the Phillies. Yet another DFA after the lockout resulted in a claim from the Marlins just over a week ago.
The fact that he keeps getting claimed shows that teams still see signs for hope in Lopez. After earning a hefty bonus when originally signed out of Cuba in 2014, Lopez didn’t show much reason for optimism in the following years. However, after being acquired by the Braves last year, his Triple-A performance seemed to give some hope, throwing 32 2/3 innings there with a 26.7% strikeout rate and 8.4% walk rate, finishing with an ERA of 3.03. Given that he still has options, it’s possible he is claimed on waivers another time, with some team adding him as depth and hoping that he can continue with the momentum he seemed to be building last year.