Jose Lopez and $3.6 million salary designated for assignment by Rockies

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Back in December the Mariners were expected to non-tender Jose Lopez rather than risk giving him a raise on last year’s $3 million salary via arbitration following a season in which he hit just .239 with a ghastly .279 on-base percentage and .609 OPS.

Instead the Rockies stepped in at the last minute and traded minor-league pitcher Chaz Roe to the Mariners for Lopez, tendering him a contract and eventually settling on a $3.6 million salary for 2011.

Lopez has been even worse in Colorado, hitting just .208 with a .233 on-base percentage and .521 OPS through 38 games, and now the Rockies have designated him for assignment.

Because he’s still owed about $2.5 million Lopez is highly unlikely to be claimed off waivers, which means the Rockies will likely stash him at Triple-A or eat most of that salary to facilitate a trade. He was an All-Star at age 22, but Lopez now looks washed up at age 27.

Cardinals tab Miles Mikolas for Opening Day start

Miles Mikolas
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The Cardinals have selected right-hander Miles Mikolas as their Opening Day starter, the club revealed Saturday. It’ll mark the first career Opening Day start for Mikolas, who is scheduled to go up against the Brewers when the team hits the road on March 28.

The 29-year-old righty was a strong contender for the 2018 NL Cy Young Award, earning All-Star distinctions and pitching to a career-best 18-4 record with a 2.83 ERA, 1.3 BB/9, 6.5 SO/9, and 4.3 fWAR over 200 2/3 innings. He’s positioned to lead the Cardinals rotation in 2019 as well, with former Opening Day starters Carlos Martínez and Adam Wainwright and some combination of right-handers Jack Flaherty, Michael Wacha, Alex Reyes, and John Gant behind him.

Manager Mike Shildt told reporters that Flaherty, Wacha, Wainwright, and Martínez had all been considered for the honor, but admitted that Opening Day honors were ultimately handed to Mikolas “in recognition of [his performance] last year.” The Cardinals are scheduled to play a four-game set against the Brewers to start the season and will stop over in Pittsburgh for another two games before returning to St. Louis for their opening homestand against the Padres on April 4. Additional pitching assignments have yet to be announced.