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.
Earlier today the Major League Baseball Umpire’s Association made multiple posts on social media registering its displeasure at what it feels was the league’s weak discipline of Manny Machado following his run-in with umpire Bill Welke. It was an unusual statement, as it’s not common for umpires, individual or via their union to comment on such matters.
This evening, in an official statement, the league called it inappropriate:
“Manny Machado was suspended by MLB Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre, who considered all the facts and circumstances of Machado’s conduct, including precedent, in determining the appropriate level of discipline. Mr. Machado is appealing his suspension and we do not believe it is appropriate for the union representing Major League Umpires to comment on the discipline of players represented by the Players Association, just as it would not be appropriate for the Players Association to comment on disciplinary decisions made with respect to umpires. We also believe it is inappropriate to compare this incident to the extraordinarily serious issue of workplace violence.”
That final bit, about workplace violence, is something that I didn’t really consider when I read the umps’ statements, but it’s a damn good point. In an age where people are literally shooting up workplaces, umpires making reference to that kind of thing in response to a player throwing a bat is pretty rich indeed. And in pretty poor taste.