The Pirates signed left-handed reliever Javier Lopez today. Lopez posted some very good ERA’s with Boston in 2006-2008 before imploding in a short stint with the Red Sox last season. He did pitch well upon a demotion to Triple-A in May.
Lopez has produced some pretty poor strikeout/walk rates over the years. He has struck out 5.61 and walked 4.17 per nine innings in his career. Those are some uninspiring numbers. Lopez creates value by keeping the ball on the ground and in the park. In his career, he boasts a HR/9 of 0.59 and a 54.8% ground ball percentage. He also has had a large platoon split over the years, indicating that the Pirates will likely use him mostly in a LOOGY role.
The deal is a one-year major league contract worth $775,000. If Lopez can rebound from his brief 2009 struggles, he should be an effective, cheap middle reliever. This is a good low risk signing by the Pirates, as they fill a huge left-handed void in the bullpen.