The Mets have claimed reliever Yoan López off waivers from the Marlins, according to announcements from both teams. To clear space on the 40-man roster, New York placed left-hander Joey Lucchesi on the 60-day injured list.
López continues to bounce around the league — and more specifically, the NL East — via waivers. Designated for assignment by the Braves early in the offseason, he was claimed by the Phillies just before the lockout. Since the work stoppage, he’s gone from Philadelphia to Miami and now to Queens on the waiver wire.
Despite having been a member of four NL East teams within the past six months, the only big league club for which López has ever suited up is the Diamondbacks. A high-profile signee by Arizona out of Cuba, he was one of the better pitching prospects in the D-Backs system for the next couple years. López reached the big leagues briefly in 2018 and found a bit of success early in his career. He pitched to a 3.41 ERA over 60 2/3 innings during his second MLB campaign, but an underwhelming 17.1% strikeout rate indicated he might have trouble continuing to keep runs off the board.
That proved to be the case, as he’s posted a 6.19 mark in 32 innings over the past two years. His 19.6% strikeout percentage and 10.1% walk rate in that time are both worse than average. That said, the 29-year-old has actually had some success missing bats on a pitch-by-pitch basis. He’s generated swinging strikes on nearly 13% of his offerings in each of the past two years, about a point above the 11.7% league average for bullpen arms. López has also averaged north of 95 MPH on his fastball and has posted slightly better than average ground-ball marks.
Traded from Arizona to Atlanta in May, López spent the majority of last season with the Braves’ top affiliate in Gwinnett. He had much better results there than he’s had in the big leagues, posting a 3.03 ERA with a 26.7% strikeout rate in 32 appearances. Between his Triple-A performance and pair of remaining minor league option years, López has clearly piqued the interest of a handful of teams. None have yet been willing to devote him a permanent spot on the 40-man roster, but the Mets can stash him at Triple-A Syracuse as a depth option for the next couple years were they to keep him on the 40-man.
Lucchesi’s 60-day IL placement was an inevitability whenever New York needed a roster spot. The southpaw underwent Tommy John surgery last June and will miss most or all of the upcoming season recovering.