Rodrigo Lopez did a decent job in 98 innings for the Cubs last season, posting a 4.42 ERA in 16 starts and 10 relief outings, and he’ll return to Chicago on a minor-league contract.
His deal includes an invitation to spring training, but the 36-year-old right-hander will likely be competing for a long-relief role at most considering the Cubs’ rotation is all but set.
Lopez threw 200 innings for the Rockies in 2010, but that came with a 5.00 ERA and league-high 37 homers allowed. He also served up 18 homers in 98 innings last season, which along with sub par strikeout rates and mediocre control makes him a pretty marginal big leaguer at this point.
The Cubs’ defense — or lack thereof this year — has been a topic of conversation as it could help explain why the team hasn’t played at the elite level it played at last year.
Manager Joe Maddon tried to go into detail about that but ended up channeling his inner Rex Ryan. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney.
If, in the future, Joe Ross ever complains about a lack of run support, point to his first four starts of the 2017 season.
Ross started on April 19 in Atlanta against the Braves, on April 25 in Colorado against the Rockies, on April 30 at home against the Mets, and on May 23 at home against the Mariners. In those games, the Nats’ offense scored 14, 15, 23, and 10 runs respectively for a total of 62 runs, or an average of 15.5 per start. Ross was the pitcher of record for seven, eight, 10, and 10 runs for a total of 35 runs (8.75 runs per start), which would still make him the major league leader in run support by that restrictive standard.
Among qualified starters — Ross did not qualify — entering Tuesday’s action, the Rockies’ Antonio Senzatela led the way according to ESPN, averaging 7.11 runs of support in nine starts. The Rockies scored double-digit runs in only three of those starts, oddly enough.
Per the Nationals, the 62 runs of support for Ross is a major league record in a pitcher’s first four starts of a season.