A month ago the Mariners declined their $4.5 million option on Jose Lopez for 2011 and since then they’ve no doubt been trying to find another team interesting in trading for him with an eye toward taking Lopez to arbitration at a lower salary.
Not surprisingly there were apparently no takers for the disappointing infielder and Mike Salk of 710-ESPN in Seattle reports that the Mariners will non-tender Lopez prior to tomorrow night’s deadline.
Lopez looked like a promising all-around player early in his career, making an All-Star team at age 22 and flashing 25-homer power at times, but his overall game hasn’t developed one bit in seven seasons. He still swings at everything, canceling out the occasionally good power with a miserable .297 career on-base percentage, and has packed on pounds while moving from second base to third base defensively.
Despite seemingly being around forever Lopez is still just 27 years old, but the days of anyone viewing him as a potential star are long gone and after six straight seasons with at least 550 plate appearances he may have to settle for a part-time job in 2011.
The ALCS had a weird play in Game 4 on Tuesday night, but Game 4 of the NLCS did as well. This one involved Cubs outfielder Albert Almora, Jr. and his attempt to spark a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning against Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling.
After Alex Avila singled, Almora ripped a double to left field, past a diving Enrique Hernandez. The ball rolled to the ivy in front of the wall. Most outfielders there would’ve put their hands up, which would have alerted the umpires to call an immediate ground-rule double. Hernandez didn’t, instead fishing the ball out and firing it back into the infield. Avila had stopped at third base, but Almora kept running. Much to his surprise, he pulled up into third base to see his teammate standing there, resigned to his fate as a dead duck. Third baseman Justin Turner applied the tag on Almora for what he thought was the first out of the inning.
Almora, however, was then sent back to second base after the umpires correctly called a ground-rule double.
Unfortunately for the Cubs, the lucky break didn’t help as closer Kenley Jansen came in and took care of business, retiring all three batters he faced without letting an inherited runner score. The Dodgers won 6-1 and now lead the NLCS three games to none. They’ll try to punch their ticket to the World Series on Wednesday.