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Rays officially sign Felipe Lopez to a minor league contract

Feb 2, 2011, 4:41 PM EDT

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Felipe Lopez and the Rays officially agreed to a minor-league contract today. He’ll get an invitation to spring training and compete for a bench job, but because it’s not a major-league deal the Red Sox won’t receive a compensatory draft pick for letting him go.

Boston signed Lopez as a free agent in late September, bought out the 2011 option on his contract for $15,000, and then offered him arbitration knowing he would decline. And it almost got them a “free” draft pick between the first and second rounds, except the market for Lopez was incredibly weak after he wore out his welcome with Tony La Russa and the Cardinals last year.

Lopez is just a season removed from hitting .310 with an .810 OPS, so it’s a nice low-cost flier for the Rays.

  1. Adam - Feb 2, 2011 at 4:46 PM

    Is this something Type A relievers could start doing? For example, could Soriano have signed a minor league contract that said IF he made the major league team he’d make 3/37?

    • okobojicat - Feb 2, 2011 at 5:18 PM

      I think there would be a grievance filed by the team expecting the draft pick as obviously this player is not a possible minor league player.

      Also, players don’t like signing minor league deals as it give the major league team more power over them.

      Also, from what I’ve read (Keith Law) if Lopez is on the opening day roster, than the Red Sox will petition and probably win a pick from the Rays. No team would sign a player like Soriano but then stick him in the minor leagues for a week.

  2. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Feb 2, 2011 at 5:17 PM

    There are no Type A free agents left this year, and this is the last year of the current CBA between owners and the player’s union, so the answer to your first question would be ‘no’ on a technicality.

    I’d still be curious to know if it could have been done, (i.e., the answer to your second question)

  3. Jeremiah Graves - Feb 2, 2011 at 5:57 PM

    Personally, I had hoped the Twins would take a flier on Lopez.

    With Casilla and Nishioka taking over the middle of the infield and Matty “I Swing My Banjo Like a Real Big Boy” Tolbert as the utility man, we could be in for a severely rough season up the middle.

    I realize he’s got attitude problems, but I’d like to think a guy who is now accepting minor league deals for teams STOCKED with middle infield talent probably realizes he needs to get his act together if he wants to keep getting paid to play ball.

  4. jetersusedjersey - Feb 2, 2011 at 6:28 PM

    If he makes the Rays this is a great move. I think he still has a decent platoon season in him.

    • spudchukar - Feb 2, 2011 at 10:37 PM

      Another interesting Rays pickup, but about the platoon thing, Lopez is a switch-hitter.

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