DFA Jose Lopez

Dave · July 21, 2010 at 9:53 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

No, I’m not kidding.

There are nine days remaining until the trade deadline. By rule, when you designate a player for assignment, you have 10 days in which to trade him or waive him, so they could keep him right up until July 31st and give him to whatever team decides they want an infielder for the stretch run.

But after tonight’s performance, Jose Lopez should never put on a Mariner uniform again. This was his evening:

1st inning – flyout to LF (where else?)
4th inning – single to LF
7th inning – Grounded into a 5-4-3 double play
9th inning – intentionally walked, doubled off of first base

Lopez put the ball in play three times and made three outs, then managed to make an out even after an IBB. Yes, he got a hit on a weak single that rolled through the hole, but it wasn’t the kind of hit anyone should be proud of. On the seventh inning double play, Lopez was still 40 feet from first base when Konerko caught the ball. He could barely run halfway down the baseline in the time it took the White Sox to throw the ball around the horn.

Nothing can top the ninth inning, though. After he was inexplicably walked to set up a force play, he stood at first base as the trail runner in a tie game. His run meant literally nothing. His entire job was to avoid doing something crazy that would stop Figgins from being able to score. What happened? Bradley hit a weak fly ball down the right field line that Andruw Jones made a sprawling catch on. He then rolled over and threw to first base from his back, beating Lopez back to the base and ending the inning.

Jose Lopez was doubled off of first base in the ninth inning of a tie game when he was the trailing runner.

I don’t know if he’s the stupidest player in baseball, but he’s in the running, and plays like that make you wonder if he has the mental capacity to beat a six year old at checkers. But, you know, there are some pretty dumb athletes who have done pretty well in their respective sports. You don’t have to be a genius to be a good baseball player.

You do, however, have to care. And there’s no evidence that Jose Lopez cares.

At 17 years of age, he was voted the best defensive shortstop in the Northwest League. Two years later, he was being mentioned as a defensive liability and a guy with limited range because he had put on so much weight. At 19, Lopez was already showing that he cared more about Doritos than about his career. The organization tried to get him to work on his conditioning, and he lost enough weight to not be an embarrassment as a second baseman (though shortstop was permanently out the window), and eventually made his way to the big leagues thanks to his offensive abilities.

He came up as a 20-year-old who swung at everything, but had some decent pull power. Seven years later, he is exactly the same hitter he was when he got the majors. He hasn’t improved at all. Not one bit, from 20 to 26. He’s the same easy out he’s always been, and he relies on getting a fastball up and in that he can turn on. Any other pitch, he can’t hit. He doesn’t bother to learn why, or to figure out if he can do something to get better. He just tries the same thing over and over again.

Why bother improving? Its not like he has an incentive clause in his deal that gets him more Doritos for every hit, after all. He’s content to waste every ounce of natural ability he has. He could be a good player. He could help a team win. Instead, he helps his calorie count get higher while his career fritters away. He should be headed into the prime of his career, but instead, he’s a couple more years like this away one from being forcibly retired.

He’s out of chances in Seattle, and this game should have been the last straw. He hasn’t earned the right to wear the Mariner uniform anymore. He doesn’t deserve it.

Designate him for assignment and trade him if you can. If not, put him on waivers. If someone takes him, great. Then you can move Figgins back to third and play someone at second who gives a crap. Like his good friend Yuniesky Betancourt a year ago, he’s worn out his welcome here through a sheer quantity of apathy. He’s not worth playing. Just get rid of him.


90 Responses to “DFA Jose Lopez”

  1. terry on July 22nd, 2010 5:05 am

    Someone still watches the Ms closely enough to notice this stuff? That’s amazing.

  2. terry on July 22nd, 2010 5:06 am

    I get that Dave is angry, but there’s no reason to DFA Lopez before the trade deadline, and doing so would only hurt his value since everyone then knows you only have 10 days to make a decision.

    What trade value does he have really? Z let teams kick that tire to many times over the last year that Lopez has a bruised spleen.

  3. lesch2k on July 22nd, 2010 5:12 am

    pulling the bat back to take a ball on a suicide squeeze that could win the game is still worse than getting doubled off as the trailing runner. byrnes got one more 0-fer after that and then he was booted so it’s possible

  4. bermanator on July 22nd, 2010 5:37 am

    What trade value does he have really?

    You’re not getting a Cliff Lee package, obviously, but I don’t think Seattle has to give him away for free either.

    There are a bunch of issues that lower his value (with what happened last night an example of one of them), and I’m not expecting much in return, but Seattle should be looking to maximize the value of its assets and there’s no way that a DFA nine days before the trade deadline accomplishes that.

  5. PackBob on July 22nd, 2010 5:53 am

    The Byrnes (true) suicide squeeze non-bunt and Lopez getting caught off base as a meaningless runner is like two people I know. The only person dumber in the world than person A is person B. However, the only person in the world dumber than person B is person A.

    This should not be possible, but it is true. How is it possible that we get to see the dumbest play in the history of baseball twice? Where is Yogi Berra when you need him?

  6. samregens on July 22nd, 2010 6:32 am

    Great post Dave.
    Finally somebody important calls out Lopez’s terrible play and attitude toward his vocation.

    We need less stupid and apathetic players like Lopez (no matter how cute his dazed expression comes off to some).
    (And not just Lopez, but we really need less stupidity flaunted on the team like the bullpen who can’t mix their pitches up, slow guys like Jack Wilson making unneccessary outs and killing chances by being overly aggressive on the basepaths, Figgins who forgot how to situationally hit or who doesn’t care for some reason, Rob Johnson).

    We need more baseball-smart, cerebral, and disciplined players like Cliff Lee and Ichiro, who prepare well and execute well on the field.

  7. Dennisss on July 22nd, 2010 6:37 am

    I was wondering what happened to that fury Dave started to release, what seems like a long time ago. Angry Dave is back. Angry Dave is fun.

    I agree on Lopez. Like Carlos and Yuni before him, he has burned through his chances with the Mariners. On an underperforming team, it makes sense to cut your losses on your most egregious underperformer.

    But speaking of dumb athletes, does anyone else see Jack Wilson in the same vein? I enjoy his defense, but he has made too many bad decisions on the basepaths, and his approach at the plate is Bloomquistian — never let them walk you, make contact, hope for a single. He just seems to make the least of his offensive ability through bad choices.

  8. Dennisss on July 22nd, 2010 7:04 am

    OK, just to be clear, it’s total coincidence that samregens was writing about Jack Wilson at the same time I was. Apparently at least one other person is with me.

  9. Paul B on July 22nd, 2010 7:06 am

    But the thing I don’t get is why, on this piece of crap team, Lopez deserves to get DFA’d more than anyone else.

    Well, other than Jack Wilson, he’s the worst hitter currently on the team.

    Branyan 133
    Langerhans 116
    Ichiro 109
    Guti 95
    Saunders 95
    Smoak 81
    Josh 81
    Kotchman 79
    Bradley 78
    Bard 69
    Figgins 67
    Rob Johnson 67

    Lopez 65
    Jack Wilson 60

    Yup. Our cleanup hitter is worse than Rob Johnson.

  10. Westside guy on July 22nd, 2010 7:26 am

    Okay, I’ve been working on my piece – “In defense of Jose Lopez”. Here we go.


    hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha – I can’t do it.

    Um… maybe the scouts had to leave last night’s game early to catch a plane?

  11. Sports on a Schtick on July 22nd, 2010 7:58 am

    “In defense of Jose Lopez”

    He hit a batshit crazy fastball off the Yankees for a grand slam that won a game for Felix.

    /end transmission

  12. RRR on July 22nd, 2010 7:59 am

    I got home from school last night, caught the end of the M’s game, then did my usual right before bed routine and checked ussmariner.com

    Not only was the Jose Lopez story hot and fresh at 9:53pm, there was no similar news flash on GB’s blog at The Times. I’m sure this isn’t the first time Dave has accomplished this. But I’d like to point out how awesome it is that the best place to get our Mariners analysis, is also scooping a Major City Newspaper (who’s mariner’s beat guy isn’t exactly everyone’s favorite…)!

    Keep up the great work USSM!

  13. Jay R. on July 22nd, 2010 8:29 am

    I have been beating this drum for 2 years now. I gave him several passes for all the personal tragedies he has had to endure, but he is out of excuses. Getting nothing in return for him would be an upgrade at this point.

  14. mymrbig on July 22nd, 2010 8:51 am

    I wouldn’t DFA Lopez right now, as it would decrease Seattle’s bargaining position in trades. I know some of you think he’s completely worthless, and sure, he’s been poor this year. But Jack has shown in the past that he can get something valuable for a player with a lot less trade value than Lopez (Betancourt).

    (1) He was an average-ish player in 2006, 2008, and 2009, so he’s easy to sell as a bounce-back candidate.
    (2) Safeco has always been a poor fit for his offensive skill set.
    (3) He’s proven to be a capable 3rd baseman (4.2 UZR, very small sample size) who can slide back to 2nd without killing a team defensively (cumulative -4.4 UZR from 2007-09).
    (4) He’s not the hardest worker, but there aren’t any indications he’s clubhouse cancer.
    (5) Despite the decreased power, his other component stats are largely stable compared to the past couple seasons (SwStr%, Contact%, IFFB%, GB/FB, BB%, K%). His ISO is down and his BABIP is a career low (.255 compared to .281 career).
    (6) His contract is reasonable, even cheap if his offense bounces back to his 2008-09 levels (less than $1 M for the remainder of 2010, very cheap $250k buyout for 2011 or reasonable $4.5 M option).

    Really, there are tons of teams looking for either a utility guy or a fill-in at 2nd or 3rd (Tigers, White Sox, Twins, Angels, Mets, Phillies, Reds). If the club really wants to just dump him, they can just put him on waivers in August. With his cheap salary, pretty likely someone would claim him.

  15. Omerta on July 22nd, 2010 8:52 am

    I’m fine with him finishing out the season here (not like we’re playing for anything anyway and he isn’t blocking anyone of importance for this year).

    But I do very much hope I don’t have to watch him loaf around for one second of 2011.

  16. mymrbig on July 22nd, 2010 8:54 am

    Honestly, I think DFAing Jose Lopez right now is the suggestion I’ve disagreed with most out of everything I’ve read at this site. I’m usually in close alignment with USSM, but not here. There isn’t an obvious replacement, he has some trade value, DFA’ing him now isn’t much different from doing so after the season or putting him on waivers in August. There just isn’t anything gained by the timing, but something potentially lost by the timing.

  17. firova2 on July 22nd, 2010 9:04 am

    We’ve yet to see evidence that Jose Lopez has any trade value. He was shopped over the winter as a 25 homer second baseman with no takers and he must be on the block now. What’s a reasonable price for him? A low A prospect? He’s one of the easiest outs in the entire majors and has been for a long time. Yes, even in his more productive seasons.

    The obvious replacement is Tui. The team is losing at a prodigious rate anyway. So get a definitive read on Tui before replacing him with Figgins next year.

  18. Paul B on July 22nd, 2010 9:20 am

    (2) Safeco has always been a poor fit for his offensive skill set

    And what would that skill set be, exactly? GIDP?

    It looks to me like his hitting skill is once in awhile pulling a ball right down the left field line into the seats.

    That is as easy to do in Safeco as elsewhere (it is the straightway left and left center that are graveyards for fly balls).

    For evidence, I offer this fact:

    Lopez career homers at home: 38
    Lopez career homers on the road: 38

  19. JMHawkins on July 22nd, 2010 9:31 am

    Running the same “parody of X using players” ad campaign every year just brings up the contrast between the days when the commercials featured stars and these days when they have to be pulled when a player is traded or released. If I were the client, I’d be rethinking that pretty seriously.

    And there’s one of the problems. The M’s haven’t been able to establish a stable cadre of regulars who were any good. So many young players have gone bust. Geez, I’m going to sound like a broken record, but somethings wrong. Lopez and Betancourt both fail due to lack of effort. Felix damn near had the same fate, but somebody woke him up in time.

  20. firova2 on July 22nd, 2010 9:43 am

    On the play in question, why wouldn’t Lopez have turned toward right so that he is facing the play, and taken a few side skips toward second before committing to either base? Would that have been the proper athletic move?

    He simply ran straight to second on the play without hesitation, apparently certain that the ball was down.

  21. zmic11 on July 22nd, 2010 10:09 am

    i hate lopez as much as the next guy, but if you’re going to say he didn’t deserve that single tonight because it was weakly hit, he didn’t deserve that double play either. That ball was hit very hard– only right at the third basemen, which also explains why he was so far away from first.

  22. msfanmike on July 22nd, 2010 10:15 am

    On the play in question, why wouldn’t Lopez have turned toward right so that he is facing the play, and taken a few side skips toward second before committing to either base? Would that have been the proper athletic move?

    Good question firova … but the question you pose does also provide the answers.

    Lopez is not a smart player and he is not very athletic. I have never seen an actual athlete run like Lopez runs … but Ron Cey is the closest example I can think of. However, Ron Cey was smart, could play and could hit.

    I also don’t have the faintest damn ideal what Brumley is doing in his role as 1B “Coach.” He was brutal at 3B – so they moved him. Our most recent problems have been with runners at 1B. Replays aren’t conclusive, but it is hard to tell if Brumley is saying anything or whether he is just standing there clicking his stop watch.

    DFA Brumley … and try to get a few scraps for Lopez. If you can’t get any scraps by the end of this month – get him out of the way asap.

  23. msfanmike on July 22nd, 2010 10:34 am

    Brumleys job on the play in question (and he does have a much better angle than Lopez did)

    “Halfway, halfway, halfway” !!
    “Get a read, get a read” !!
    “Back, back, baaaaaaack” !!

    Lopez’ job:

    Go halfway, watch the ball, watch the fielder, get the umps signal, listen for the 1B coach. REACT QUICKLY!

    Lopez had a lot of things he should have been doing – in splits of seconds and with quick reactions necessary and he probably couldn’t hear the coach with the crowd noise (if the coach was even yelling).

    Lopez’ resolution: Turn and run toward 2B because he “thought” the ball was falling in for a hit.

    Pony Leaguers are benched for this type of thinking.

  24. matthew on July 22nd, 2010 10:37 am

    Mmm, Doritos…

  25. Adam S on July 22nd, 2010 11:20 am

    There isn’t an obvious replacement
    What exactly do you want/need to replace Lopez? He’s perhaps average defensively and must be way below replacement level on offense. Hanahan has to be an upgrade right now because even if he can’t hit, he’s a ++ defender.

    Yes he had a pretty nice year last year and someone might get excited about that. But if you’re in a pennant race would you plug in Lopez at 2B or 3B and expect him to help your team? I guess if the M’s threw in $1.25M someone might send back a low-A prospect and stick Lopez on the AAA roster.

  26. Diehard on July 22nd, 2010 11:59 am

    Get rid of his dumb fat ass!!! If the Mariners are happy with mediocrity then they will keep Loafie and let him keep having brainfarts on a daily basis. I don’t care if the paperboy is at second the rest of the year. At least put someone who cares and actually tries instead of hanging out at space mountain all game long.

  27. mymrbig on July 22nd, 2010 12:25 pm

    We’ve yet to see evidence that Jose Lopez has any trade value. He was shopped over the winter as a 25 homer second baseman with no takers and he must be on the block now. What’s a reasonable price for him?

    Yeah, but at the time he was being shopped last winter Seattle was undoubtedly asking for more then they would now. Maybe there were no takers because the M’s asking price was higher than what other teams were willing to offer (remember, there were a lot of free agent 2nd baseman last winter). Now the asking price would basically be some A-ball player with a tool or some AAA-guy with scrapiness and no tool. Comparing his trade value last winter with his trade value now is like comparing a bruised apple with a rotten apple (which is still good for fertilizer or planting an apple tree).

    And what would that skill set be, exactly? GIDP?

    It looks to me like his hitting skill is once in awhile pulling a ball right down the left field line into the seats.

    That is as easy to do in Safeco as elsewhere (it is the straightway left and left center that are graveyards for fly balls).

    For evidence, I offer this fact:

    Lopez career homers at home: 38
    Lopez career homers on the road: 38

    His skill set is hitting 300-350 foot flies to left and not striking out much. Hitting lots of 300-350 foot flies to left plays very well in some ballparks (Houston and Boston spring immediately to mind) and is a terrible skill set in other parks (Seattle).

  28. KCrotchman on July 22nd, 2010 12:39 pm

    Branyan should bat clean up when he comes back. Lopez should be benched until the trade deadline for being a retard. The base running error last night was the last straw for me. 1 figgins 2 Iciro 3 Guity 4 Branyan 5 Smoak 6 JoWilson 7 Saunders 8 Whatever dumb catcher 9 JaWilson

  29. firova2 on July 22nd, 2010 1:03 pm

    I’m reminded of when Riggleman benched Lopez for sloppy play in the field. This indeed has been an issue for a while.

  30. Joeyjojo Jr Shabadoo on July 22nd, 2010 1:32 pm

    @firova2, I understand why Salk and Drayer laughed it off when I called and said DFA Lopez. They have fielded stupid calls for DFA’ing a number of players. However, the point I was making was that Lopez doesn’t care and is just going through the motions. That is sticking a finger in the eye of the manager and setting a poor example. I said Lopez isn’t part of the future, this team isn’t going anywhere this year, so what I really wanted was some red meat for us die-hard fans.

    I still find it amazing that I was worked up enough to call in the post game show.

  31. Jim_H on July 22nd, 2010 3:13 pm

    Jose has certainly earned some criticism. No questioning that.

    However, I think the personal stuff (stupid/fat/lazy) is a bit over the top. It comes across as (to me) as childish and immature…

    Since Ackley isn’t ready for a promotion, and Lopez has no real trade value, I really don’t see any harm in keeping him. You bring up Tui to what end? He’s not the ‘future’ either… just another stop gap.

    Instead, why don’t we DFA the FSN production crew that couldn’t even manage to get video of last nights debacle ?

  32. firova2 on July 22nd, 2010 5:33 pm

    It’s interesting that the Red Sox dealt for Hannahan. Surely Lopez was available for a similar price?

  33. D.A.R.Y.L. on July 22nd, 2010 8:43 pm

    Who was it that beat the Yankees with a grand slam 2 weeks ago? Having a hard time remembering…

    Let’s see if we can send him to the Tigers for Ramon Santiago, and then sign Rich Aurilia. Deja vu?

  34. nemo on July 23rd, 2010 1:41 am

    You think he’s not worthy of wearing a Mariners jersey? What team (other than the Royals) would think he was worthy of wearing their jersey? Honestly, with Cliff Lee gone, there are only about 5 people on this team that really seem to deserve a major league role in any organization. If you aren’t worthy of an M’s jersey, you aren’t worthy of any major league jersey.

    I think Lopez will stick around until Ackley is ready for the show. That will be after the trade deadline, obviously, so Lopez will likely be staying on for the rest of the year.

  35. mymrbig on July 23rd, 2010 7:19 am

    Honestly, with Cliff Lee gone, there are only about 5 people on this team that really seem to deserve a major league role in any organization. If you aren’t worthy of an M’s jersey, you aren’t worthy of any major league jersey.

    A lot of you are so negative, it borders on comical. I’ve singled out nemo’s comment, but lots of similar stuff throughout this thread. I don’t really know who your “5” are, but to my eyes, Ichiro, Gutierrez, Figgins, Smoak, Saunders, Branyan, Jack Wilson, Aardsma, League, Moore, Felix, Vargas, Fister, and even Lopez (at a minimum) “deserve a major league role” in many organizations. You can argue that some of them aren’t worth their current contracts (Figgins, Wilson, Lopez). You can argue that some of them aren’t good enough to be starters for most clubs (Figgins, WIlson, Lopez). You can argue that some of them aren’t yet good enough to be starters for most organizations (Saunders, Moore, Smoak). But you can’t seriously argue with a straight face that only 5 of these guys deserve to wear a major league jersey. Get real. Stop crying into your beer. The team isn’t great and they’ve been a big disappointment this year. But they aren’t the Bad News Bears or the Washington Generals.

  36. downwarddog on July 23rd, 2010 9:25 am

    Great post. Lopez is simply painful to watch. I’d love to see him DFA’d just so others in the organization would understand how awful he is. Meanwhile, moving him to third and Figgins to second remains one the oddest decisions management made this year … as far as 5 guys on this team being worthy of the M’s jersey, that sounds optimistic to me. There are certainly only 2 (Felix, Ichiro) that are worth paying to see (and unfortunately you only have a 20% of seeing them both at the same time).

  37. downwarddog on July 23rd, 2010 9:30 am

    But they aren’t the Bad News Bears

    So true, the Bears played for the championship of their league. And the M’s are playing for what exactly? The number one draft pick?

  38. 6-4-3 on July 23rd, 2010 10:41 am

    The Lopez issue raises an interesting question: as a GM do you go after the best talent no matter what or should you sacrifice some talent for players who are smart and motivated ballplayers, and, if so, how do you even go about judging that? The problem with the second approach is you might end up with a team of Willie Bloomquists.

  39. akampfer on July 23rd, 2010 1:29 pm

    It’s been looking like Lopez might be out of here after this year. It looks like the infield next year may be made up of Smoak @ 1B, Figgins back at 3B with Wilson(s) at SS and Ackley at 2B considering he’s in Tacoma and looks like he has about the same numbers as he did in AA.

  40. bongo on July 25th, 2010 2:09 am

    “The M’s haven’t been able to establish a stable cadre of regulars who were any good.”

    It would be more accurate to say that the Mariners have been lousy at evaluating (and keeping) talent.

    Watching the All-Star game it was interesting how many former Mariners there were: Rafael Soriano, Matt Thornton, Ryan Franklin, A-Rod, Cliff Lee, etc.

    If we still had Thornton and Soriano our bullpen would be much better than it is. Similarly if we had kept A. Cabrera we wouldn’t be talking about Lopez, and if we had Sinn Soo Choo, we wouldn’t be worrying about Bradley.

    Right now there are probably at least 3-4 players in the farm system who are future MLB regulars. We just need to do better at figuring out who they are.

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