Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
It’s official. Wilton Lopez will be in the mix once again in the Colorado Rockies bullpen in 2014.
Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports that the team avoided arbitration with Lopez on Thursday night, signing him to a one-year, $2.2 million deal.
It seems a bit high, but that’s probably the baggage of 2013 talking. Taking his career into consideration, he is a quality reliever with experience closing and working in tight situations. Even coming off a bad season, you pay a little bit for his resume and $2.2 million isn’t a bad number.
Lopez’s struggles in his first season as a member of the Rockies are well-documented by now. In 75 appearances and 75.1 innings he went 3-4 with a 4.06 ERA. But you know what? For all of the memorable meltdowns he had, he ended up with a 3.57 FIP and a 3.69 xFIP. He probably isn’t far from being a solid reliever again, and if we know nothing else about the Rockies, we know they need depth in the bullpen.
Even with a bad season and a lot of hand-wringing in the time since he joined the Rockies, it was a no-brainer for the team to put him back in the mix in 2014. With stuff that profiles well for Coors Field (see: sinkers), you could reasonably argue that Lopez is still a great fit. And if he does click, he can work his way back into our good graces, one decent appearance at a time.