The deal that Cards fans have expected is official. Felipe Lopez has signed a one-year deal with St. Louis and was expected to join the team for workouts this morning. Lopez was dying to get back on the field and wanted to be a Cardinal all offseason.
Scott Boras seemed to get in the way of Lopez signing with a team for much of the offseason. Lopez fired him and a few weeks later, he is in Jupiter training with the Cardinals. The switch-hitting do-everything player spent part of 2008 with St. Louis. Now, he’ll get a full year in the nation’s best baseball town.
Lopez is exactly what the Cardinals needed to complete the 2010 club. He fills in any gaps St. Louis had and allows fans to breathe easier about the weaknesses the Cards had coming into Spring Training. He is a good hitter, hitting around .300 in each of the last two seasons. The bench was thin on good pinch-hitting options, but Lopez gives it more stability. He can play the infield and the outfield, both in need of more depth. David Freese is unproven at third, so Felipe can step in if needed. He was also an All-Star shortstop in 2005 for the Reds, so if Brendan Ryan isn’t ready, he is always an option. Julio Lugo and Tyler Greene are also solid backups. Finally, the outfield is set for everyday play, but if one of the big three goes down, Lopez can fill the void. The Cardinals had few viable options off the bench.
Felipe Lopez provides the club with much-needed depth and versatility. It’s good to have Flip back in St. Louis.