The Braves made another splash signing, adding to their bullpen again in the form of Reynaldo Lopez. The 29-year-old reliever averaged 98.2 MPH on his heater in 2023, and gives Atlanta’s relief core some more power that they’ve been desperately missing.
The deal is for three years and will pay Lopez at least $30 million, who is thrilled for the opportunity to pitch for a contending team. Also important of note, Lopez shares an agent with Marcell Ozuna, who helped recruit him to Atlanta, according to Justin Toscano of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Marcell Ozuna and Reynaldo Lopez share an agent. Of Lopez, Ozuna told the agent: "Hey, we need him on this team."
In an intro Zoom, Lopez mentioned the positive vibe around the Braves and his excitement to pitch for a contender.
— Justin Toscano (@JustinCToscano) November 20, 2023
The revival of Marcell Ozuna’s career has been remarkable. He was in the doghouse less than a year ago for multiple off the field incidents as well as poor performance on the field. Fast forward eight months, and he’s fresh off a 40 homer 100 RBI season and helping recruit free agents to the Braves.
However, if you’ve followed Ozuna’s situation closely, this shouldn’t be all that shocking. Whether things have been north or south, The Big Bear has been a breath of fresh air in the clubhouse, always remaining positive.
It’s a big reason why the Braves never really considered releasing him despite calls from the fans and media to do so. Ozuna’s work ethic has never come into question, his attitude has remained upbeat, and he’s been a tremendous veteran presence in the clubhouse. His voice matters within the organization, and Alex Anthopoulos holds the opinions of players and coaches — past and present — in high regard.
There are several reports that Atlanta will try Reynaldo Lopez out as a starter this spring and then decide how they want to utilize him come April.
Reynaldo López will prepare as a starter this winter and the Braves will stretch him out in spring training, sources tell @TheAthletic. Team will determine role at end of spring. Lopez averaged 32 GS/186 IP for White Sox in 2018-19. Potential versatility appealed to Braves.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 20, 2023
I like the idea of keeping every option on the table, and the Braves have been notorious for their development of pitchers. Perhaps they could unlock something more with Lopez, but at the very least, they’ve acquired another bullpen arm that can be relied on in high-leverage situations.
Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire