One of the things you often hear covering the Mariners is the lamentations of fans when former Seattle players have immediate success as soon as they leave the team.
You know how often I saw some form of the phrase: “Of course Adrian Beltre starts hitting as soon as he leaves Seattle, everyone plays better when the leave the Mariners,” on Twitter and in blog comments last year?
But there have been a few people that haven’t had post-Seattle success. Richie Sexson comes to mind immediately. You can add Jose Lopez to that list now.
The former Mariners infielder, who was dealt to Colorado in the offseason for minor leaguer Chaz Roe, was designated for assignment by the Colorado Rockies. Lopez does have a Triple A option left, but since he has more than five years of major league service time, he could have refused the option and declare for free agency.
Lopez was given a chance to win the starting second base job in spring training and was beat out by Jonathan Herrera. He then was gifted a chance at third base when Ian Stewart completely forgot how to hit. But Lopez didn’t do much with that chance because he didn’t hit either. He played 37 games, and hit .210 (26-for-124) with four doubles, two homers and eight RBI. But his bad habits continued in Coors Field particularly his free-swinging. He took just three walks in 128 plate appearances and his OBP was abysmal .234.
“I hit the ball hard; that’s all I can do, and I had no luck,” said Lopez, who said he was informed of the decision immediately after Thursday night’s game. “I’ve had this before — hit .170 in 200 at-bats, then start hitting and get to .250, .270.
“I want to play every day. I didn’t get a chance to play every day. That’s what happened. I’d play one day and not get to play the next two. That’s the first time for me. I played the last five years 150 games. This year, I played the first couple weeks, then started getting on the bench.”
Hmm, well, there is some adjusting to playing from the bench.
As for the first comment, well, last season he was hitting .214 after 191 plate appearances and ended up hitting .239 for the season. He was likely referring to 2009 season when he was hitting .216 after 47 games and 191 plate appearances, and then finished the season hitting .272. But that was the Mariners. They were trying salvage something to trade or use. The Rockies have a different agenda.
Look, I’ve never been a huge Lopez fan. I believe he stopped working with the Mariners. Some have defended his work ethic. I will not. I know what I saw and didn’t see. And the bottom line is, if he was working, the results would have been better.
There was some thought that Lopez might flourish in hitter-friendly Coors Field with a decent lineup around him. But it didn’t happen. Much like the Mariners, he was given chances and didn’t produce. Unlike the Mariners, Lopez had no history with the Rockies and they had little invested in him. So instead of watching the same act over and over again, they simply said good bye.
Lopez isn’t a bad guy. He’s actually a very friendly guy. But that doesn’t change the issues at hand.
Am I surprised it finally led to this?