Detroit Tigers News

Detroit Tigers could use veteran catching depth at Triple-A

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TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 8: James McCann #34 of the Detroit Tigers catches a foul pop up as he reaches out to make the catch in the fourth inning during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on September 8, 2017 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 8: James McCann #34 of the Detroit Tigers catches a foul pop up as he reaches out to make the catch in the fourth inning during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on September 8, 2017 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Tigers
TORONTO, ON – SEPTEMBER 8: Raffy Lopez #1 of the Toronto Blue Jays fields a soft grounder while avoiding stepping on the bat as he makes the play and throws out the baserunner in the second inning during MLB game action against the Detroit Tigers at Rogers Centre on September 8, 2017 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /

Rafael Lopez

Rafael Lopez was outrighted off the Toronto Blue Jays 40-man roster in November, making him a free agent.

Lopez hit .222 with four home runs and an even 100 wRC+ in 63 plate appearances for the Jays in 2017.

The catcher was much stronger at Triple-A, slashing .293/.368/.551 with 12 home runs and a very strong 153 wRC+.

The 30-year-old has posted strong walk rates across all levels, including his 11.1% rate with the Blue Jays last year.

He may never hit for a high average, but if he draws walks and drags out at-bats he will be valuable as a depth option behind the dish.

Defensively, Lopez is a solid receiver behind the plate. He does not have the best arm (two runners caught in 21 stolen base attempts) but is a serviceable backstop.

The left-handed hitting Lopez would also help balance out the right-handed hitting trio of McCann, Hicks and Greiner.

Left-handed hitting catchers are rare and the Detroit Tigers traded away one of the best in Alex Avila during the 2017 season.

While Lopez will not replicate Avila’s success, he would give the Tigers another left-handed hitting option if called upon at the big league level.

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