SAN FRANCISCO – Javier Lopez is a luxury item for some clubs. You don’t lavish money on a left-handed specialist when you expect to lose 90-plus games.
The Giants have no such expectations.
They know how valuable Lopez is to their bullpen, and they also know they plan to have a lot of 2-1 and 3-2 leads to protect. So they ponied up a third year to keep the sidewinder. Although there were details to be worked out, the two sides were in agreement on a three-year, $13 million contract, as BayAreaSportsGuy.com first reported.
Lopez, 36, was coming off a two-year, $8.5 million deal. He gets an ever so slight bump ($4.33 million from $4.25 million) in salary. It’s the third year that mattered most to him, since his first choice was to remain with the Giants.
No word yet on if Lopez will receive any kind of no-trade protection as part of the deal. That’s likely what the two sides are resolving now.
“Winning two World Series here and playing in front of sellout crowds every day, that’s what every player strives to do and I have that here,” Lopez told me in September.
Lopez was 4-2 with a 1.83 ERA in 69 games this past season and held left-handers to a .156 average. In three-plus years as a Giant, he’s faced 605 batters and allowed just two home runs.
He was forced to pitch more against right-handers this season (they hit .296 off him) because of Jeremy Affeldt’s groin injury. Getting Affeldt back at full strength will be another huge key as the Giants look for more consistency from their bullpen.
In addition to Lopez, Affeldt and closer Sergio Romo, the Giants have right-hander Santiago Casilla under contract. Yusmeiro Petit likely will make the club as a long reliever because he’s out of options. That would leave two spots, and if the Giants don’t sign anyone else from the outside world, the top candidates would appear to be George Kontos, Heath Hembree, Jean Machi and Sandy Rosario. Minor league right-hander Derek Law is coming quickly, though.
Left-hander Jose Mijares likely will be non-tendered.