Alejo Lopez will be remaining with the Cincinnati Reds. The utility player cleared waivers after he was designated for assignment last week to make room on the 40-man roster for Will Benson. Since this was his first time being placed on waivers he did not have the option of becoming a free agent if the team opted to outright him to the minors if he cleared. Cincinnati did indeed outright him to the minor leagues and then extended him an invitation to big league spring training.

On a team that isn’t going to have a very deep bench due to the carrying of three catchers and the current era of 8-man bullpens, a player who can play all over the place has some additional value. That’s one thing that Alejo Lopez can do. Despite playing in just 73 games in his career he’s played second base, third base, left field, center field (granted it was just for one out and shouldn’t be expected to play here), right field, and he’s even thrown 2.2 innings on the mound. Of course with the new rule this season that non-pitchers can only itch in extra-innings or in huge blowouts (if your run is up by 10 in the 9th, or trailing by 8 at any point in the game).

Another thing that works in the favor of Lopez is that he’s a switch hitter. While the designated hitter being in the National League did eliminate a ton of pinch hitting opportunities (there were 4432 pinch hitting chances in 2021 and just 1644 in 2022), having the option to have one player improve a match up against a specific reliever is still going to be beneficial if available to a team’s manager.

Those two things do work in favor of Lopez, but what doesn’t is that he’s now lost his 40-man roster spot and for him to make the team the Reds would have to decide that he’s a better option in six weeks than someone they didn’t think that about last week….. but maybe not, as the team should have at least two 40-man spots open up with Tejay Antone and Vladimir Gutierrez likely heading to the 60-day injured list once that designation opens up when spring training ends.

What Lopez will need to show in the spring is that he’s carrying a hot bat. While he’s made tons of contact in his big league career, and hit for a solid average (.262), he hasn’t done much else. His on-base percentage in his big league career is just .307 and his slugging percentage is just .331. He’ll have to hit better than that out in Arizona if he’s going to get back onto the big league roster.

18 Responses

  1. Jimbo44CN

    I really hope he makes the team. Love the way he plays and can hit to all fields. We will see.

  2. redfanorbust

    I am surprised no one took him. He would be a great bench player for some teams including the Reds. Reds are overflowing with hopeful fringe players who might have a good spring training and that will be the decision making thing that gets them onto the opening day roster. Glad to see he gets invited to ST. I think he has as good or better chance than anyone else for a bench spot on the team’s roster especially if
    given enough at bats.

  3. Doc

    Solid hit tool.
    OBP not outstanding.
    Power non-existent.
    Average or worse defensively.
    Not surprising to me he cleared waivers.

  4. Votto4life

    Hard to see him sticking with the big league team. With the system flooded with middle infielders, I’m not sure where he fits in.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      A singles-only bat only works if the player is incredible defensively, and that’s not Lopez.

      • Redsvol

        Tom – absolutely agree. Also, he doesn’t walk at a great rate either or steal bases. These type players are very plentiful in AAA.

  5. Melvin

    Pete Rose did at least have some power to the gaps without many home runs and a better OBP. Still though I wonder how Rose, if he came up in today’s way of thinking, what kind of career would he have had? Lopez is valuable, to me. I believe his “power” will increase as he gets older. He can just plain hit. A switch hitter that can do that and play multiple positions has to be valuable.

    • Harry Stoner

      Altuve’s slugging % hovered well below .400 for his first three seasons before his big breakout.

      • Redsvol

        yes, but his OPS in the 2 years prior to his Astros debut were .805 and 1.017 – far superior to anything Lopez has managed. Altuve is build like a tank, Alejo Lopez is …..not.

    • Oldtimer

      Pete Rose led all of MLB in XBH during 1970s despite hitting only 79 HR that decade.

      • Melvin

        A doubles machine. My question was, in today’s way of thinking, would he even have made it as a regular player in the 60s to be able to do that in the 70s?

      • Melvin

        Maybe so. Probably would have been harder though. The chances of Lopez turning into as good a player as Rose was most likely are slim to none. He still should be valuable in my view. Let’s hope so. He seems to be a good guy who works hard.

    • Doc

      Except not to the 29 other clubs who could have had him essentially for nothing.

  6. TR

    Alejo Lopez is a good contact hitter from both sides and he has some speed. If there’s room, a good player to have on the squad when you need a hit to get a runner in and then Diaz closes it out.

    • Melvin

      I little like Luis Quinones of the 1990 World Series team don’t you think? We all know that guy was valuable.

  7. RedBB

    Reds fans love to overvalue Reds player. No shock he didn’t get claimed. OK hit, zero power, poor defender and slow. No one’s giving up a roster spot for that.

    • Jimbo44CN

      For his major league career at 2nd base he has a 978 fielding percentage. How is that a poor defender, and I dont think he’s slow. And yes, I guess I am one of those Reds fans that overvalue players.