Arizona Adds Another Piece to the Pitching Puzzle

Hidden within the transaction log was this entry for the Arizona Diamondbacks, “The D-backs signed right-hander Rodrigo Lopez to a Minor League contract on Wednesday and invited the veteran to Spring Training.”

Rodrigo Lopez is a 34 year-old veteran who has spent eight seasons in the major leagues playing for the San Diego Padres, Baltimore Orioles, Colorado Rockies, and last season with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Lopez has a career record of 68-66 with an ERA of 4.82. He is coming off Tommy John surgery in 2007 and appeared in seven games for the Phillies. He was 3-1 with a 5.70 ERA in those games.

The Arizona Diamondbacks are viewing Lopez as potentially a fifth starter in their rotation. He will go into Spring Training competing for that spot with Billy Buckner, Kevin Mulvey, and Brian Augenstein.

As a non-roster invitee, Lopez will have to be very impressive to force the Diamondbacks to move a player off their 40-man roster to make room for him. If Lopez does bounce back and regain his control and velocity he could be a valuable addition to the end of the rotation.

During his years with the Orioles Lopez had years where he had records of 15-9 (2002), 14-9 (2004), and 15-12 (2005). Getting 15 wins from your fifth starter is a luxury that few teams can boast.

This is a low-risk, high-reward proposition that can make a team much more competitive if it works out. If it doesn’t, the financial impact on the team is minimal. The signing of Lopez is one story that Diamondbacks fans should monitor closely during the Cactus League to see how it might play out.


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