Via Andy McCullough: The Yankees and free agent left-hander Javier Lopez have “expressed mutual interest” during preliminary talks. Agent Barry Meister expects to have more serious negotiations later in the offseason, after New York addresses some more pressing needs. “That’s our goal, is to make sure that Javy plays with a winner, and plays with a team that’s a contender … That’s the most important thing to him: He wants the innings to be meaningful,” said Meister.
Lopez, 36, has been one of the most dominant lefty relievers in baseball over the last few seasons. He held same-side batters to a .156/.208/.222 (.197 wOBA) batting line in 2013 and a .212 wOBA with a 25.4% strikeout rate and a 63.5% ground ball over the last three years, all with the Giants. Lopez is a true specialist with a low arm slot, mid-80s fastball, and mid-70s slider, so he’s completely unusable against righties. They crush him. He helped San Francisco to two World Series titles, so he’s pitched in big games and pennant races and all that.
With payroll coming down, I figured lefty reliever would be a good spot for the Yankees to save some cash and go cheap. Grab some Clay Rapada types off waivers and as minor league free agents to compete with Cesar Cabral and David Huff (and Vidal Nuno?) in Spring Training and go from there. It’s good they touched base with Lopez and his agent understands they could circle back if there’s some extra money lying around after the heavy offseason lifting is done though.