The San Francisco Giants are "fully engaged" in contract discussions with free agent reliever Javier Lopez and appear to be closing in on a multi-year deal to bring the left-hander back to the Bay Area, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
Lopez, 36, has been an integral part of the Giants' relief corps the past three-plus years, working primarily against left-handed batters. Though his workload has been limited -- he's thrown just 75⅓ innings since 2012 -- he's still managed to be a huge asset out of the bullpen.
The sidearm southpaw owns a 2.26 ERA over 147⅓ innings in his time with San Francisco, deriving much of his value from his outlier ability to get ground balls and suppress home runs. Lopez has averaged a ground-ball rate of over 60 percent since joining the Giants and has allowed just two dingers in the entirety of his tenure with the club.
Over Lopez's 11 big-league seasons, left-handed batters have hit .219/.295/.301 with just nine home runs in over 950 plate appearances opposite the southpaw, good for a powerless 593 OPS. Right-handed batters, by comparison, own an 813 OPS against Lopez.
Nothing is known of the financial details being thrown around at the moment, but one is free to speculate. The veteran earned $4.25 million from the Giants each of the last two seasons, so it seems likely he'll earn at least that in average annual value on any new deal.