The Tigers have agreed to a minor league contract with free-agent infielder Jack Lopez, as first reported by former big league infielder Carlos Baerga (on Instagram). Evan Petzold of the Detroit Free Press tweets that Lopez has signed a deal and will head to the Tigers’ spring facility in Lakeland, Fla. for minicamp.
The 29-year-old Lopez won a Silver Medal as part of Team USA during last summer’s Olympics. He made his Major League debut with the Red Sox not long after returning, going 2-for-13 with a pair of doubles in a tiny sample of seven games. He split the rest of his season between Double-A (five games) and Triple-A (68 games), batting a combined .285/.355/.413 with four homers, 17 doubles, a triple and 15 steals (in 17 tries) over the life of 273 plate appearances.
Lopez, a 16th-round pick by the Royals back in 2011, has appeared in parts of nine minor league seasons and logged a collective .241/.295/.331 batting line in that time. The vast majority of his professional experience has come at the two middle infield slots, with more time at shortstop than at second base. Lopez also has more than 1200 professional innings at the hot corner, in addition to some more sparse work in the outfield.
Baseball America at one point ranked Lopez among the middle tiers of the Royals’ farm system, noting that his range, soft hands and solid arm gave him a chance to handle shortstop at the big league level. That was seven years ago, and the the bat obviously hasn’t panned out as hoped, but Lopez will give the Tigers some defensive value and versatility to stash in the upper minors.
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