Making official what was reported last week, Jose Lopez has signed a one-year deal with the Yomiuri Giants in Japan.
According to the Associated Press he’ll get $911,000, which is less than most former major leaguers heading to Japan typically receive and suggests Lopez couldn’t find anything more than a minor-league deal in America.
And that makes sense, because despite some early hope that he’d develop into an impact player (and an odd All-Star appearance in 2006) Lopez has been pretty terrible for years now, hitting .236 with a .615 OPS during the past three seasons.
Jose Lopez is close to signing with the Yomiuri Giants in Japan, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
Lopez was an All-Star at age 22 and is still just 29 years old, but he hasn’t been a productive regular since 2009 and hit just .236 with a .615 OPS in 313 games as a part-time player during the past three seasons.
For his nine-season career Lopez is a .262 hitter with a .292 on-base percentage and .395 slugging percentage, which has to be among the worst production ever for someone who made an All-Star team so young. Of course, his “All-Star” season wasn’t particularly impressive, as he hit .282 with 10 homers and a .723 OPS, so it’s not as if Lopez was ever anything special.
As noted by Nick Collias of MLB Trade Rumors, the Astros are close to an agreement with Jose Lopez.
“On December 26th I’m going to fly to Houston,” Lopez told reporters on Saturday in his native Venezuela. “Nothing is firm yet, but I might have to stop playing (in the Venezuelan winter leagues). Everything depends on the physical exams.”
Lopez batted just .246/.270/.356 with four homers and 28 RBI in 81 games this past season between the Indians and White Sox. The 29-year-old has not been a productive major leaguer since 2009, when he slugged 25 home runs in 153 games as the Mariners’ starting second baseman. His career on-base percentage is just .292.
Which is why this deal with the Astros will be probably be of the non-guaranteed minor league variety.
UPDATE: CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman says there’s “nothing going on” between the Astros and Lopez.