I really didn’t think he would do it. It was just too silly for words really; the idea we would sign a pitcher – even to a minor league contract – with worse numbers than Kenshin Kawakami. Yet Ed Price of AOL FanHouse (Twitter link) reports that Braves announced that they signed Rodrigo Lopez to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training. As I said two days ago when Lopez said he was considering such an offer, there is just no good reason to add another failed arm to the system.
For those who missed Saturday’s post, Lopez threw 200 innings for the Diamondbacks last year, finishing with 5.00 ERA giving up 227 hits, 37 homers and 111 earned runs. He’s a fly ball pitcher who has allowed a little over a home run every game since he’s been in the big leagues so it’s no surprise his ERAs since 2005 were horrible (4.90, 5.90, 4.42, 5.70 and 5.00).
He had TJ surgery in 07 and missed part of 09 with a shoulder problem. Last year he led the league in home runs allowed -37- and runs allowed -111 – the second time in his career he’s done that (in 2006 he allowed 124). Wren obviously sees something in Lopez he likes, this is the second time he’s signed him. In August 08 Lopez played for the Braves rookie league team and at Rome. He appeared in only 3 games throwing 5 innings with an ERA of 16.20. The Braves didn’t like him enough to resign him then so why now? Since their records and pitches are so alike, Kenshin Kawakami must be shaking his head in disbelief. Yep KK, me too.
Apparently Roger McDowell thinks he can fix George Sherrill by raising his arm slot. Sherrill told Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Carroll Rogers. “I must have gotten away from it last year and couldn’t figure out where the arm slot was supposed to be. Hopefully we can get back to that this year.” Here’s hoping Roger is right.
Instead of pitching – where we are strongest – we should be looking for another bench player. Word is that Chipper Jones’ left knee is still not 100 percent. He told MLB.com‘s Guy Curtright. That he can “. . . run straight ahead, but it still feels like my left leg is five pounds heavier than my right.” He will wear a sleeve for support during workouts and games this season but the knee will need more rest than I -for one- had hoped meaning Martin will play more third than we hoped and someone – probably Mather – will play more left. This makes our already suspect outfield even weaker. Aside from Heyward, we have no one we can say now will play at a major league level next year. With outfield free agents as scarce as rain in West Texas finding a dependable outfielder now is unlikely absent a trade. Another option to consider is an infielder who can play third base; someone like Pedro Feliz.
While Feliz is not much of a bat – probably now a 240 or so hitter if he played every day – he is a very good fielding 3rd baseman will run into a fastball now and then and drive in a run or two. He would provide cover at third in addition to Brooks Conrad who has not proven to be very dependable fielder. Feliz hasn’t had a good offer yet and would more than likely take the same minor league contract and invite we gave Lopez. While we’re giving people a chance let’s give a proven major leaguer one, let’s see what Pedro Feliz can do.