Rodrigo Lopez on the move?

Earlier today, the Yankees traded starter Jaret Wright to the Orioles for reliever Chris Britton.  This gives the O's a surplus of starters (sort of), so apparently Rodrigo Lopez is on the block, and the Brewers have looked into it:

Though the acquisition of Jaret Wright gives the Orioles six starters along with Erik Bedard , Daniel Cabrera , Adam Loewen, Kris Benson and Rodrigo Lopez , the Orioles will likely trade Lopez (the Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies and Milwaukee Brewers have inquired) or use him in the bullpen.

Maybe it's just me, but I think Rodrigo Lopez has been on the block for most of his MLB career.  He had a great year as a 28-year old in 2004, throwing 170 innings with a 3.59 ERA in 23 starts.  It's been downhill from there, with ERAs of 4.90 and 5.90 in the last two seasons.

Some of that is AL East inflation--he's had to face the Yankees, Red Sox, and Blue Jays a lot.  However, the 3.59 was surely a fluke.  He may have a "true talent level" close to his career ERA of 4.83.  If that's the case, he might be good for a 4.50 ERA in the NL Central, good enough to fill out the back of our rotation, I suppose.

What Lopez does give you is durability.  His IP totals for the last five years: 196.7, 147, 170.7, 209.3, and 189.  This past year probably would've been higher, but he was moved to the bullpen for a spell.  (An ERA of 5.90 will cause a move like that, even in Baltimore.)

In other words, he's Doug Davis, maybe without the upside.  He's got the same service time as DD: one more year before free-agency.  Lopez made $3.75M last year, and would likely get about the same in arby this year.  He wouldn't be a bad guy to bring on board, as long as it didn't take much to get him.  

Hey, do the Orioles need a "power-hitting" lefty RF?  We might be able to spare one...

Update [2006-11-14 2:21:25 by battlekow]: From Ken Rosenthal:

The Brewers and Orioles have discussed a trade that would send outfielder Kevin Mench to Baltimore for right-hander Rodrigo Lopez; the Orioles also have expressed interest in another Brewers outfielder, Geoff Jenkins, but their bigger priority is believed to be free-agent left fielder Carlos Lee.

For the Brewers, the idea behind acquiring Lopez or a similar pitcher would be to stockpile rotation options so they could entertain trade offers for one of their better veterans, most likely left-hander Doug Davis.

Over the past three seasons, the Diamondbacks' Livan Hernandez is the only pitcher to make more starts than Davis ? and the difference is that Hernandez has started 104 games and Davis 103.

I'm all in favor of both the Mench-for-Lopez trade and the general idea of trading Davis, as long as Mench leaving doesn't cement Hall into LF; however, based on what we've heard so far, I think that's exactly what's going to happen. Hell, maybe they can platoon Gross and Hall in order to maximize the amount of talent wasted. Bah.

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