Don’t get me wrong, I like both Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez, but for a team with an assumed tight budget, I can’t say I totally love this deal.
The Giants retained their left-handed bullpen complement and thus addressed one of the biggest issues facing them this offseason Sunday by signing Javier Lopez to a two-year, $8.5 million contract and picking up Jeremy Affeldt’s $5 million contract option for 2012.
At a minimum, I assumed that Affeldt would be back, either by the $5M option that the Giants held on him, or perhaps a new deal. However, signing Javier Lopez to a two year, $8.5M deal is slightly surprising. I figured he might test the market a little more. The Lopez contract is a pretty typical Brian Sabean move. Not great, not totally terrible, largely uninspiring. Yeah, I think that’s the word I’ll go with: uninspiring. If it’s one thing we’ve seen in the Sabean era, it’s that he likes to have all of his bullpen pieces in place, and Lopez fills a nice role as the lefty-killer in the Giants’ pen.
Since Lopez put on a Giants’ jersey, he’s been quite good — 72 IP, 53 H, 19 ER, 2.38 ERA — but, I’ve always been of the opinion that it’s not that hard to rustle up a LOOGY, whether it be from the minor leagues or by trade. The team uses him against right-handed batters too much, but that’s mainly a Bochy problem and, if memory serves me correct, he scaled him back against RHBs as the season progressed.
In a vacuum, the Lopez deal isn’t terrible, and it won’t break the team’s back financially, it’s just a little weird, I guess. There are worse things than paying a LOOGY $4M per season, and I don’t have any doubts that Lopez’s salary is going to prohibit the team from bringing in more offense, but it’s probably not the best use of current monies. It’s kinda like buying a huge crate of Ramen Noodles on sale for $20. Yeah, the price was right, but it’s still a crate full of Ramen Noodles. And worse, when you open it up, half of the noodle packages are that weird shrimp flavor which no one really likes. But hey, it’s food, and you were hungry at the time.