Report: Felipe Lopez passes on pennant race, signs with Red Sox

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Earlier today, it sounded like the Padres were going to have Felipe Lopez for the stretch drive. Not anymore.

According to Scott Miller of CBSSports.com, Lopez has “vetoed” the Padres’ waiver claim and signed on to play a meaningless week of baseball with the Red Sox, instead.

Lopez, 30, was released by the Cardinals this week after batting just .231/.310/.340 with seven home runs, 36 RBI and eight stolen bases over 376 at-bats. The team initially said he was released in order to play some of their younger players, however Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak later admitted that Lopez repeatedly showed up late to games.

It’s certainly an odd match, especially with the Padres in the middle of a pennant race, but one industry source tells Miller that the Red Sox signed him with the idea of a compensatory draft pick in mind. You see, Lopez currently projects to be a Type B free agent this winter. Should the Red Sox offer him arbitration and see him sign with another team, they would receive a supplemental pick in next year’s draft.

There’s always the chance that Lopez will accept arbitration, given that he doesn’t have the best reputation around the game, but at least the Red Sox have several weeks to mull over the possibility. 

Why Ryan Zimmerman skipped spring training

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All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.

The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.

It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.

It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.

Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉