The Phillies announced today that they have designated right-hander Yoan Lopez for assignment. The move clears a spot on the 40-man roster for outfielder Odubel Herrera, whose signing is now official. Another move will be required for the signing of Kyle Schwarber, once that becomes official.
After Lopez defected from Cuba in 2014, the Diamondbacks signed him and gave him a bonus of $8.27MM. The club went over their international bonus allotment to do so, which was allowed under the CBA at that time. However, the penalty for doing so was that they were then prohibited from giving a bonus larger than $300K for the next two international signing periods.
Unfortunately, Lopez never really justified that aggressiveness. After a couple of years of mediocre results as a starter in the minors, Arizona moved him to a relief role. He made it to the majors in 2018 and threw out of the club’s bullpen over the next few years, making 113 appearances in that time, logging a total of 101 2/3 innings with a 4.25 ERA, 19.1% strikeout rate and 7.7% walk rate.
After being designated for assignment in May of last year, Lopez was claimed by the Braves and spent the rest of the year with their Triple-A club. He threw 32 2/3 innings there with a 26.7% strikeout rate and 8.4% walk rate, finishing with an ERA of 3.03. Despite those encouraging results, Atlanta designated him for assignment when they acquired Jay Jackson in November, with the Phillies claiming him off waivers at that time. That makes this the third DFA in less than a year for Lopez. With the promise he showed in Triple-A, it seems likely he will be claimed again. He has just over two years of MLB service time and still can be optioned to the minors, meaning a team could take a chance on the 29-year-old and improve their bullpen depth.