Javier Lopez's age began to show in 2016 after finishing the season with an ERA above 4.00 for the first time since 2009, despite being used primarily as a left-handed specialist. The 39-year-old has never been an overpowering pitcher, but his control (5.06 BB/9) and inability to keep the ball in the park (1.01 HR/9) showed his biggest weaknesses. Lopez was an unrestricted free agent, but he decided to hang up his cleats after a successful 14-year career.
Lopez announced he will retire from baseball on Wednesday, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports. The 39-year-old spent his 14 years in the league on five different teams, winning four World Series championship rings over the course of his career with the Red Sox and Giants. He posted a career ERA of 3.48 over 533.1 career innings.
Lopez could be situational save opportunities against lefty-heavy lineups. He entered Friday's game in a save situation, walking the only batter he faced before being lifted in the eventual win over Arizona. Manager Bruce Bochy state that he would be using a closer by committee approach with Santiago Casilla officially out as closer in San Francisco. Lopez is the least likely to see save opportunities given his profile as a left-handed specialist, but he could occassionally run into a save or two when the opposition has multiple lefties due up in the inning.
Lopez retired the only two batters he faced Monday, striking one out in the process. Lopez hasn't been as effective as he has in year's past (4.15 ERA), but he has strung together five consecutive scoreless innings over his last eight appearances. Given the nature of his LOOGY (lefty one-out guy) role, he provides little to no fantasy appeal.
Lopez opened the ninth inning and retired the only batter he faced to earn his seventh hold of the season Friday. At age 38, Lopez is at the tail end of his career, as evidenced by his 4.63 ERA despite mainly facing left-handed batters. Manager Bruce Bochy still uses him as a LOOGY in late-inning situations, so he will get the occasional hold like he did Friday. Other than that, he doesn't hold much fantasy value.
Lopez struck out the single batter he faced in Saturday's victory over the Cubs. After a rough outing against the Dodgers in April where he was taken for two runs, Lopez has seemingly returned to his old form. In the Month of May, he has yet to give up a hit and has only allowed one walk. As usual, his appearances have been one inning or less, for his primary value is his ability to shut down left-handed batters. The one surprise in Lopez's performance this season has been his effectiveness against right-handed batters. Traditionally, Lopez has an opponent batting average over .200 against righties, but they are 0-for-11 against the southpaw this season.