MLB exec says Braves free agent “could be quite a steal”

MLB: APR 02 Braves at White Sox

Alex Anthopoulos’ magic continued this offseason, taking a few swings that are already paying dividends for the Braves.

Though he’s amid a slump, Jarred Kelenic is still adjusting to his new approach and shouldn’t be considered even close to a hopeless cause. His value in the field is enough to warrant giving him at-bats still in a platoon role with Adam Duvall.

However, the one offseason acquisition that has only impressed is Reynaldo Lopez, who inked a free agent deal worth $30 million over three years, which is pennies for a starting pitcher.

The former reliever came over from the White Sox this offseason and has solidified the Braves rotation following a devastating season-ending injury to Spencer Strider. Lopez has started five games, going 30.0 innings, and owns a 1.50 ERA to go along with a 1.000 WHIP and a 9.3 K/9, prompting praise from MLB executives.

MLB media recently polled anonymous execs on the best offseason signings, and the Braves’ free agent signing unsurprisingly got some praise, “Reynaldo López could be quite a steal for Atlanta if they successfully continue his conversion back into the rotation.” an AL exec said.

Here’s how the voting shook out:

Shota Imanaga, Cubs (9 votes)
Shohei Ohtani, Dodgers (4 votes)
Jack Flaherty, Tigers (1 vote)
Sonny Gray, Cardinals (1 vote)
Jordan Hicks, Giants (1 vote)
Reynaldo López, Braves (1 vote)
Seth Lugo, Royals (1 vote)
Albert Suárez, Orioles (1 vote)
Spencer Turnbull, Phillies (1 vote)
Tyler Glasnow, Dodgers (trade/extension) (1 vote)
Zack Wheeler, Phillies (extension) (1 vote)

Shota Imanaga has been outstanding for the Cubs. The Japanese lefty inked a four-year contract worth $53 million, which includes a team option to extend the contract — after both Years 2 and 3 — to $80 million over five years. It’s difficult to argue any free agent addition has been more impactful through the first six weeks of the season, but if anyone has a solid case, it’s Reynaldo Lopez.

Imanaga has started one more game than Lopez and owns a 0.78 ERA and 0.75 WHIP. There are also a lot more unknowns with Lopez, who hasn’t thrown more than 66 innings in a season since 2019. Regardless, Lopez looks to be, as the AL exec said, quite a steal for Atlanta.

Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire

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