Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Thoughts on Javier Lopez

Javier Lopez announced his retirement today at the age of 39(is he really that old?). Lopez was an indispensable part of the Giants amazing run of 3 World Series Championships from 2010-2014. He was acquired at the trade deadline from the Pittsburgh Pirates for Joe Martinez and John Bowker, a trade that was heavily criticized by certain parts of the Giants fanbase. It turned out to be one of the savviest trades of Brian Sabean's very savvy career.

Lopez was just breaking out as a lefty specialist reliever. Not only did he make significant contributions to the Giants first Championship in San Francisico, he stayed on to make major contributions to 2 more championships in 2012 and 2014. What Lopez gave the Giants was a second lefthanded option out of the bullpen to back up Jeremy Affeldt giving Bruce Bochy the ability to get favorable matchups against big lefthanded bats in multiple late inning situations. In today's game, you have to be able to neutralize the big lefty bats when the game is on the line late. Sabean and Bochy seemed to understand that long before most other GM's and managers caught on. Good lefty relievers not command much higher prices on the open market than what Sabes was criticized for paying back when he acquired Affeldt and Lopez.

One thing I did not realize, was Lopez and the Giants can probably thank Buck Showalter for Lopez' fine MLB career and for those 3 trophies that reside at 24 Willie Mays Plaza. Lopez was drafted as a conventional LHP and started his pro career as a starter. He struggled in that role, but Showalter instituted a D'Backs organizational policy that before releasing any pitcher from the organization, they would give them a second chance if they were willing to try throwing sidearm/submarine style. Lopez was one of those guys back in 2001. It took a few years and multiple organizations, but the conversion eventually paid off and the Giants were the main beneficiaries.

Javier Lopez, Good Giant. I do hope they will have a day for him this season and he gets a huge ovation. It will be well deserved.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't like the trade when it happened. Was happy with the first year, but thought it was a fluke. The next year he had the results but his peripherals made me think he was gonna fall apart.

    But he just kept going. A great Giant.