The Giants made another hefty commitment to a left-handed reliever on Sunday, re-signing Javier Lopez to a two-year, $8.5 million contract, the Associated Press reports.
It’s a big payday for Lopez, who is getting his first ever multiyear contract at age 34. He earned $2.35 million while amassing a 2.72 ERA and 20 holds in 53 innings last season.
The Giants stepped up with the big offer to Lopez even though they’re still in limbo with Jeremy Affeldt. It’s believed they’d prefer to re-sign Affeldt to another two-year deal instead of picking up his $5 million option for 2012.
Lopez pitched for five teams before joining the Giants in a trade with the Pirates during the summer of 2010. He held left-handers to a .163 average last season and didn’t give up a homer to any of the 222 batters he faced.
Lopez and Affeldt probably rated as the top two lefty relievers on the market this winter, with Darren Oliver and Mike Gonzalez next in line.
Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.
That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.
Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.