We are in September, and the Baltimore Orioles still own the best record in the American League at 83-51. But that does not mean general manager Mike Elias and the front office are going to be complacent when it comes to their roster.
Baltimore is getting in on the MLB waiver wire hysteria, claiming old friend and former All-Star Jorge Lopez on Saturday, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports. The veteran pitcher returns to the place that saw him find the most success of his career.
Lopez spent two years in Baltimore and sported a 1.68 ERA with the club in 2022 to earn a trip to the Midsummer Classic. The starter-turned-reliever was then traded to the Minnesota Twins, where he unfortunately reverted back to his struggling ways. Lopez was dealt again ahead of this year's trade deadline, this time to the Miami Marlins. He sunk to new depths with a 9.26 ERA and .400 batting average against in 12 games.
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The 30-year-old brings his 6.13 overall 2023 ERA back to the Orioles for what both sides hope is a welcome reunion. The club is clinging to a narrow one-and-a-half game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East, so additional depth could be crucial down the home stretch. Manager Brandon Hyde has not gotten the production from his rotation that he did early on in the year and could be faced with some tough decisions come the postseason.
That could force him to be highly dependent on the bullpen going forward. If Jorge Lopez can quickly turn the page, perhaps he can once again become a valued commodity on this pitching staff.