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Atlanta Braves Sign Rodrigo Lopez To Minor League Deal

The Braves have signed Rodrigo Lopez, according to Ed Price at Fanhouse. It is a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training.

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I got into signing Lopez over the weekend, so there isn't much else to say about such a guy. His career ERA of 4.85 and FIP of 4.68 is a good indicator of his talent. A career BB/9 of 2.76 is good, but a K/9 of 5.84 is not. Also not good is a HR/9 of 1.33 and GB% of 42%. He has good control and limits walks, but he has no punch out ability, gives up too many homers and gives up too many fly balls for the lack of strikeouts.

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Last year, Lopez threw 200 innings for Arizona, recording a 5.00 ERA, 5.21 FIP and 4.70 xFIP. He had a 2.52 BB/9 and 5.22 K/9, 1.67 HR/9 and 37.6% GB%. He also had a SwingingStrike% of 5%, meaning he does not get whiffs at all. He doesn't miss bats.

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I have to believe this is purely a depth move for the AAA Gwinnett roster. There is no way he takes a spot from Mike Minor if Minor shows he's capable of the fifth spot. How this affects Brandon Beachy's timetable and his role as the first option in Gwinnett is not certain, but I feel like Beachy will still get the nod over Lopez should injury occur. I also have to believe the Braves would not sign Lopez if they had someone more qualified to fill a spot at Gwinnett. This isn't a guy you hold minor leaguers back for, and anybody in the sport of baseball should know this.

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Lopez may see time in Atlanta in 2011, but I don't expect it to be before September.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.