Reynaldo Lopez had a very interesting tenure with the Chicago White Sox where he went from a can't miss starting pitching prospect to one of their better bullpen arms. He was the second piece behind Lucas Giolito in the trade that sent Adam Eaton to the Washington Nationals. Dane Dunning also came in the trade but he was eventually traded for Lance Lynn.
Lopez was a starter when he was first acquired by the White Sox. Early on in his tenure, he was a solid starter that looked to have a bright future. It seemed as if he was going to be even better than Giolito at first.
In 2018, his first full year with the Sox, he was their best starter. They were a losing team so he only went 7-10 but he had an ERA of 3.91. He had 169 strikeouts in 188.2 innings pitched. He wasn’t a superstar rookie or anything like that but he was more than solid.
In 2019, he fell off a cliff. He led the league with 110 earned runs which led to his terrible 5.38 ERA. That also happened to be the year in which Lucas Giolito took off and became their ace, so Lopez was pushed down the depth chart.
Reynaldo Lopez has had a very up-and-down career up to this point
In 2020, he made eight starts during the short 60-game season and he was even worse. He went 1-3 with a 6.49 ERA. From there, you had to wonder whether or not he was ever going to return to the form he had earlier in his career.
In 2021, he didn't make the team out of spring training because Carlos Rodon was healthy and earned his spot. Eventually, however, he was brought in later on in the year. He made 20 appearances but only nine starts so they started to work him into the bullpen.
That was a great move because he dropped his ERA down to 3.23. In 2022, when he was a full-blown reliever (he made one spot start in 61 appearances), his ERA was down to 2.76 which is his career low for any one season.
2023 was a really bad year for the White Sox so they needed to make some changes. Lopez was one of the changes that they made as they sent him off to the Los Angeles Angels. To save money after it didn't work, they put him on waivers and he was claimed by the Cleveland Guardians.
With the White Sox in 2023, he had an ERA of 4.29. With the Angels, it was 2.77 so he found some of the goods again. When he got to the Guardians, he gave up no runs in 12 appearances. That team knows how to help pitchers and they helped him. His ERA on the season as a whole was 3.27.
That left him looking for a new team entering the 2024 season. On Monday, we learned that he is signing a three-year contract worth $30 million. This is an outstanding deal for him as he now has some security again after playing for three teams in 2023.
The Braves had the best record in baseball during the 2023 season and will be looking to be elite once again in 2024. Lopez is going to be a big part of it. Like Cleveland, Atlanta knows how to handle their pitchers so we'll see what they do for him.
Lopez deserves this opportunity. He gave it all to the White Sox while he was there and should be respected for it. Hopefully, the successful run continues with his new team.