DFA Jose Lopez
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.