UPDATE: Done deal. Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports that Lopez has agreed to a minor-league contract with an invite to spring training, where he’ll compete for a spot on Cleveland’s bench.
Cleveland has had “serious discussions” with free agent Jose Lopez, according to Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com.
Once upon a time Lopez was a promising young infielder, but he’s hit just .233 with a .263 on-base percentage and .348 slugging percentage in 232 games during the past two seasons and was let go for nothing by both the Rockies and Marlins this year.
He’s still just 28 years old and could be useful as a right-handed-hitting platoon partner for left-handed-hitting third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall, but Lopez has fallen a long way since his All-Star days and might be available on a minor-league contract.
Phil Hughes was officially designated for assignment by the Twins on Tuesday, the culmination of multiple injury-plagued seasons and poor performance.
Things couldn’t have started out much better for Hughes in Minnesota. The former Yankees hurler joined the Twins on a three-year, $24 million contract in December of 2013 and reeled off a 3.52 ERA over 32 starts during his first season with the club. He set the MLB record (which still stands, by the way) for single season strikeout-to-walk ratio and even received some downballot Cy Young Award consideration. The big year resulted in the two sides ripping up their previous agreement with a new five-year, $58 million deal, but it was all downhill after that.
Hughes took a step back with a 4.40 ERA in 2015 and struggled with a 5.95 ERA over 11 starts and one relief appearance in 2016 before undergoing surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome. He wasn’t any better upon his return last year, putting up a 5.87 ERA in nine starts and five relief appearances. Hughes missed time with a biceps issue and required a thoracic outlet revision surgery in August. He began this year on the disabled list with an oblique injury, only to put up a 6.75 ERA over two starts and five relief appearances before the Twins decided to turn the page this week.
Hughes is still owed the remainder of his $13.2 million salary for this year and another $13.2 million next year. The deal didn’t work out as anyone would have hoped, but unfortunately this is another case of health just not cooperating.