Alex Anthopoulos has already signed two right-handed relivers this offseason, but that didn't stop him from signing a third. The Atlanta Braves official Twitter page just announced that the team has signed RHP Reynaldo Lopez to a three-year $26 million contract.
The contract is set to have a $4 million value in 2024, and $11 million in each of 2025 and 2026. It also includes an $8 million club option for 2027 that has a $4 million buyout attached to it. Lopez is the latest 2023 White Sox reliver to be brought in, after AA made a trade with Chicago earlier this week.
Lopez began his career with the Nationals as a high-end prospect, but was quickly dealt along with Lucas Giolito in the Adam Eaton trade. He struggled early on in his big league career as a starting pitcher, but found himself in 2021 once he transitioned to a bullpen role.
Last season Lopez pitched for three teams, the White Sox, the Angels, and the Guardians. Across his 68 apperances among those teams, Lopez pitched 66 innings, had a 3.27 ERA, 3.91 FIP, and 11.3 K/9. His fastball velocity ranked in the 96th percentile in all of baseball.
The interesting wrench in this signing is the numerous reports that the Braves may utilize Lopez as a starter. Multiple beat reporters for the Braves pointed out the fact that Lopez will come to spring training stretched out to give Atlanta the option as bullpen piece or potential starter in the rotation. Obviously, a lot of that hinges on what other transactions the Braves make this offseason.
For now, we have to be excited for what the pitching staff as a whole is shaping up to be. There are more moves to be made for sure, but Alex Anthopoulous is well on his way to building a formidable flame-throwing pitching staff built for October.