Jun 26, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Javier Lopez (49) throws against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the game at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
According to Dany Knobler of CBS Sports, the Detroit Tigers were still engaging in talks with the San Francisco Giants this morning regarding left-handed reliever Javier Lopez.
Dave Dombrowski hinted that the Tigers were probably done making trades yesterday afternoon while announcing the acquisition of Jose Veras to the media, but that was quite obviously proven to be false with last night’s deal involving Avisail Garcia and Jose Iglesias.
While the Tigers could probably use another bullpen arm, I’m not sure another lefty specialist is the ideal way to go. Despite their sturggles overall, Darin Downs (who shold be back soon) and Phil Coke have been rather effective against left-handed hitters, posting .270 and .274 OBPs against respectively this season, and, while Lopez has been even better than that this year (.232 OBP against vs. LHH), he’s still not a great option to get right handed hitters out (.368 OBP against).
The 35 year old Lopez has been better overall than either Downs or Coke this year, there’s no doubt about that, but it appears to me that the marginal upgrade here is minimal. I would be against this trade if the Tigers had to give up any sort of prospect of significance to complete the deal.
With Jose Veras, Drew Smyly, and Joaquin Benoit locking down the late innings, the Tigers really are only in need of matchup specialists. Lopez is indeed that, but how many sixth-inning lefty-on-lefty matchups are going to arise from now through October. And in those matchups, how much extra advantage would Lopez really give over Coke? Their respective seasonal on-base percentages allowed suggest that Lopez would get one extra out for every 25 such matchups.
If the Giants are merely looking to dump a bit of salary, that’s fine. I’ll take the bullpen upgrade, but if the return costs any prospect we’ve ever heard of, then that might not be fine with me.