Rockies Bolster Infield In Trade For Mariners’ Jose Lopez

The Deal
The Mariners declined to pick up second baseman Jose Lopez’s $4.5 million option for next season and seemed inclined to not tender him a contract at all for 2011. The two sides ultimately agreed on a one-year deal worth $3.6 million for what will be Lopez’s free agent walk year. Not long after signing him to the deal, Seattle shipped Lopez to the Rockies for 24-year-old Triple-A righthander Chaz Roe, the 32nd overall pick in the 2005 draft who has yet to pitch in the big leagues.

Lopez batted .285/.313/.453 with 42 home runs for the Mariners during the 2008-09 seasons, and while he almost never walked, he showed plenty of power with 40-plus doubles in both seasons. Seattle could live with the glove at second base, and at age 25 it was easy to project future all-around improvement for Lopez. But then 2010 happened. The Mariners shifted Lopez to third base in an effort to shoehorn free agent signee Chone Figgins in at the keystone. The move backfired when both players had down years.

Mariners Acquire
Chaz Roe, rhp
Age: 24.
Born: Oct. 9, 1986 in Stuebenville, Ohio.
Ht.: 6-5. Wt.: 190. Bats: R. Throws: R.
School: Lafayette HS, Lexington, Ky.
Career Transactions: Selected by Rockies in supplemental first round (32nd overall) of 2005 draft; signed June 18, 2005.

Club (League) Class W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
Colo. Springs (PCL) AAA 9 13 5.98 27 27 0 158 210 115 105 18 53 115 1.67

Roe had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in spring training in 2008 and then missed time again in ’09 with a strained oblique. He regained velocity on his fastball after going back to his high school mechanics in ’09, and he works with two other pitches that often sit average. Command has been Roe’s undoing. He throws downhill at 89-91 mph with some tailing action, while mixing in a good slider in the mid-80s and a sinking changeup. He keeps the ball on the ground, but a lot of those grounders found holes in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League (210 hits in 158 innings). He lacks a put-away pitch to finish batters with two strikes. On the plus side, Roe completed the season in good health for the first time since ’07, and he throws a curveball that sometimes functions as a swing-and-miss pitch. With four average-ish pitches and a feel to use them, all signs point to Roe being a back-of-the-rotation starter or middle reliever, especially outside of Colorado Springs and in the context of Seattle’s forgiving Safeco Field.

Rockies Acquire
Jose Lopez, 3b
Age: 27. Bats: R. Remaining Commitment: 1 year, $3.6 million.
Contract details courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts.

Seattle (AL) 2010 .239 150 593 49 142 29 0 10 58 23 66 3 .270 .339
3-Year Totals .270 462 1850 198 500 112 1 52 243 74 202 12 .299 .416

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