Mets Make Offer To Shylock

According to various sources, Rodrigo Lopez will make a decision this weekend to accept a minor-league contract and invitation to spring training from one of several teams making such an offer — including the Mets, Braves, and Rockies.

The Portugal native and purported Marrano was formerly a physician to Queen Elizabeth, before being hanged, drawn, and quartered in June 1594 when he was found guilty of conspiring to poison Her Majesty. William Shakespeare’s “Shylock” character in Merchant of Venice is said to be based on Lopez’s life.

Why the Mets would want to sign a guy who has been dead for over four centuries is beyond me. Maybe he can lend the Wilpons some money?

Unless their offer was made to the other Rodrigo Lopez — the one who has lost 15 or more games in a season as many times as he’s won 15 or more. In that case, I understand, sort of.

Rodrigo Lopez the MLB pitcher spent most of his career with the Orioles, but his last three seasons in the NL with the Rockies, Phillies, and Diamondbacks. He missed all of 2008 after Tommy John surgery, and came back to make 33 starts for Arizona last year, posting a 7-16 record with 5.00 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, and 116 Ks in 200 innings. The last figure is the most valuable: Lopez will take the ball and eat up innings, which is what the Mets need. Consider him a poor man’s Livan Hernandez, as he throws pus, gives up tons of hits, but somehow gets enough outs to keep a job.

If Lopez signs with the Mets, I’m sure much will be made about his fly ball ratio, and in turn how pitching in Citi Field will benefit his performance (he allowed a league-leading 37 HRs last year). Perhaps; but if so, it will merely change him from a pretty mediocre MLB pitcher to a fairly mediocre MLB pitcher.

Personally, for an innings-eating, fly-ball veteran pitcher on the wrong side of 35, I’d prefer Kevin Millwood. Millwood doesn’t give up quite as many homers — despite pitching in the AL East — and tends to strike out more batters. Beyond that, the two pitchers’ stat lines are eerily similar over the past few years. My guess is that Millwood would require more money and/or a guaranteed MLB contract, as opposed to a minor-league deal with ST invite.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Rob January 29, 2011 at 8:59 pm
    Ha! Signing dead players would complete the offseason for us.

    Meantime, I’d appreciate your take on the Wilpons announcement that they are retaining an investment banker to broker a deal to sell a portion of their ownership stake in the Mets. I cannot believe the endless speculation…from “the Wilpons are done as owners” to “the spending will be spartan for the foreseeable future” to “the toilet paper will be cheaper at Citifield.” Some writer even had the gumption to suggest that Alderson may have been misled about financials when he took his job (something that is hard to believe) or that Selig forced the Mets to sign Alderson because he anticipated this financial “crisis.” Frankly, I’m tired of all the speculation. But I’d appreciate your thoughts. At $150 million current payroll, I don’t think that anyone can claim that the Mets haven’t spent. But does all this mean that the Mets won’t spend in future years? I think people are jumping the gun, but hey…this is the Mets we’re talking about and writers love to be brutal when it comes to them.

    Thanks for the great work, Joe!

    All the best,

    • Joe Janish January 30, 2011 at 1:25 am
      be patient, young dragon … the issue will be addressed in due course ….
  2. mrtasan January 29, 2011 at 10:29 pm
    If I were the mets, I would pay rodrigo lopez not to be on my team…I would also pay oliver perez not to be on the team…and i would try to trip up one of luis castillo’s unproportionate legs to try to claim insurance pay from it.

    Millwood i would consider if he came cheap.

    i dunno if its my browser but everytime i load it starts me off at the bottom of the page…very annoying

    • Joe Janish January 30, 2011 at 1:27 am
      I’m with you on all three counts. Where is Tonya Harding these days? I bet she could help with the Castillo “situation”.

      Not sure what’s going on with your browser loading up the website. Are you using IE? Have you tried another browser, such as Firefox or Google Chrome?

  3. Gil Reich January 30, 2011 at 6:19 am
    I thought Livan Hernandez was the poor man’s Livan Hernandez.
    • Joe Janish January 30, 2011 at 11:36 am
      Ha! that’s a good one!