Yesterday the Cincinnati Reds designated right-handed pitcher Jose Lopez for assignment. They move was made to make room on the 40-man roster for left-handed reliever Zach Duke, who the team signed to a 1-year contract for $2M for the 2019 season.
It didn’t take very long for someone to snatch the former 6th round draft pick. Jose Lopez was picked in the 6th round of the 2015 draft out of Seton Hall. He was recovering from Tommy John surgery that year and wouldn’t make his debut until midway through the 2016 season when he joined the Billings Mustangs. Since then he’s worked his way up through the minor leagues.
In 2018 he spent his entire season in Triple-A with the Louisville Bats. Overall he was solid, but unspectacular. In 141.0 innings he posted a 4.47 ERA with 41 walks and 117 strikeouts. His strikeout rate dropped significantly from where it had been in the past. Overall his season was a tale of two stretched. In his first seven starts with the Bats he posted a 5.80 ERA in 35.2 innings. In his next 17 starts he posted a 3.72 ERA in 94.1 innings. The final two starts of the season were a bit of a struggle for the right-hander, allowing 8 runs in 11.0 innings.
While bringing in a pitcher, it could make sense to designate a pitcher for assignment. But looking at the current 40-man roster, it seemed more likely that someone would take Jose Lopez than a few other players on the roster. We won’t know if that’s true or not unless they make another move. But we do know that someone was willing to take Lopez and it didn’t take very far down the waiver wire for it to happen. The Giants were the second team to get a chance to pick him up. And that’s exactly what they did.