Braves Potential Trade Candidates: Jorge Lopez

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I’m going to steal Chase’s thunder really quick to profile a trade candidate that will get a lot of interest leading up to the trade deadline — Orioles closer Jorge Lopez. Chase has already profiled a few bats so far, even two other Orioles in Rougned Odor and Trey Mancini. Today, I’m going to focus on the bullpen instead. However, I highly recommend these other trade candidate pieces if you want some names to look for leading up to the deadline:

Jorge Lopez

It’s understandable if you aren’t familiar with what Jorge Lopez has been doing in 2022. Up until this point in his career, Lopez hasn’t been effective at all, and he’s a closer on a team that doesn’t have a lot of leads late in games. Last year, Lopez was absolutely dreadful for Baltimore, going 3-14 with a 6.07 ERA. He made 25 starts in 2021, but since then, he has become a new man out of Baltimore’s bullpen. The former top 50 prospect turned journeyman is one of the best closers in baseball this season. Over 39.1 innings, Lopez has a 1.83 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 44 strikeouts, and 14 saves. There are, however, some obvious warning signs.

If you remember last season, Richard Rodriguez was on a sharp decline before heading to Atlanta at the trade deadline. The Braves won the World Series and sent back what seems to be a meager return, so there was no real harm done. Rodriguez was declining because his spin rate fell off a cliff after the “sticky stuff” ban, but Lopez doesn’t have those issues. He has a good five-pitch mix and generally generates soft contact. His fastball velocity hike in 2022 after moving to the ‘pen has been part of what has made him so good. However, his FIP currently sits at a 3.16, which means he could be in line for some regression. Lopez has also had some rough outings recently after an incredible June.

I’d be okay with the Braves attempting to add Lopez to an already solid bullpen, but they shouldn’t overpay for a guy who has had one half-season of solid success. Lopez is under control until 2025, so it’s worth giving the Orioles a call to see what he would fetch in a trade, especially with someone like Odor or Mancini involved as well.

Photographer: Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire

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