Pirates sign Javier Lopez

UPDATE 6:16 PM: According to Dejan Kovacevic, Lopez will make $775 K guaranteed, with an additional $550 K in performance bonuses, based on appearances.  If he reaches all of his performance bonuses, he will end up making $25 K less than he made in 2009.  The Off-Season Tracker, 2010 40-Man Roster/Payroll Projection, and 2010 25-Man Roster Projection pages are all updated.  Also, I mentioned this below, but you’ll notice on the Future Payroll Commitments chart that Lopez is arbitration eligible in 2011.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have signed left handed reliever Javier Lopez, who has pitched with the Boston Red Sox for the last four seasons.  Lopez, 32, is coming off a season in which he posted a 9.26 ERA in 11.2 innings, with a 5:9 K/BB ratio, before being removed from the Red Sox 40-man roster in May and outrighted to AAA.

Lopez had success in Boston from 2006-2008, with a 2.70 ERA in 116.2 innings, despite a poor 1.36 K/BB ratio.  Lopez recorded a 5.8 K/9 ratio in that time, and a 0.5 HR/9 ratio, but had a 4.2 BB/9 ratio.  Lopez made 158 appearances, which shows that he was mostly used in a LOOGY role.  In his career, Lopez has a .247 BAA versus left handers, with a .688 OPS.  Against right handers he has a career .295 BA and an .821 OPS.  His K/BB ratio is 1.69 against left handers, and a poor 0.96 against right handers.

Lopez did a little better against right handers from 2006-2008, with a .253 average and a .719 OPS, but was absolutely horrible against both sides of the plate in his brief time in 2009.  He doesn’t fit my requirements for a top reliever, but it seems he could be a good LOOGY option, with a chance at being decent against right handers if he regains his 2006-2008 form.  It’s kind of a surprising move by the Pirates, since they prefer pitchers who can get batters out from both sides.  I guess the Pirates are banking on the Lopez from 2006-2008.

Lopez is a major league signing, so he will go on the 40-man roster.  He is also out of options, so he will either need to make the active roster out of Spring Training, or be designated for assignment, with the Pirates picking up whatever salary they owe him.  Lopez has just under five years of service time, which would give the Pirates two years of control.  No word yet on the financial side of the deal.  Lopez made $1.35 M last season, but I’d be surprised if he got that this season.  I’ll update the site once the financial details are announced.

In other free agent news, the Detroit Tigers signed Phil Dumatrait to a minor league deal, paying him $425 K if he makes the major league roster.  They are looking at Dumatrait as a starting option.  The San Francisco Giants signed Eric Hacker to a minor league deal as well today.

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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