— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) November 20, 2023
Interestingly, the plan is for Lopez to potentially contribute as a starter and out of the bullpen. According to Justin Toscano of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, he’ll prepare as a starting pitcher this winter.
Interesting note on late-inning reliever Reynaldo Lopez: He’ll prepare as a starting pitcher this winter and will be stretched out in spring training to give the Braves another option for the rotation. They think he can potentially help in both roles.
— Justin Toscano (@JustinCToscano) November 20, 2023
Lopez will make $4 million in 2024 and $11 million in each of the 2025 and 2026 seasons. Per usual with Alex Anthopoulos’ deals, Lopez’s contract includes an $8 million club option for 2027 with a $4 million buyout.
The 29-year-old pitched for three teams in 2023, posting a 3-7 record with a 3.27 ERA over 66.0 innings between the White Sox, Guardians, and Angels. He’s coming off a campaign in which he fanned a career-best 11.3 betters per 9 behind his near triple-digit fastball.
Batters slashed .188/.226/.319 against Lopez’s fastball last season, which averaged 98.2 miles per hour. The bullpen is taking shape and is beginning to look like one of the best in baseball. Lopez, Raisel Iglesias, Pierce Johnson, Joe Jimenez, Aaron Bummer, Tyler Matzek, and Dylan Lee are a formidable unit.
Overkilling the relief core was something I thought Alex Anthopulos would (and should) do. It might not be something that shows up in the regular season, but high velocity relievers reign supreme in October.
I’m not sold on the idea of trying to make Lopez a starter again. He’s struggled in the rotation in the past; however, it’s never a bad idea to try. The Braves have been known to squeeze the best out of their players, and if they can do the same with Lopez, perhaps he could turn into another high level piece of the rotation.