With the acquisition of Scott Barlow over the weekend, this probably comes as no surprise, but right-handed reliever Reynaldo López is signing elsewhere.
López, 29, who came to Cleveland in September off waivers from the Los Angeles Angels, agreed to a three-year, $30 million deal with the Atlanta Braves Monday, bolstering what is truly a scary bullpen. There is a belief as well that López could also help Atlanta's somewhat shaky rotation; he's made nearly 100 starts over his eight-year career.
López pitched very well for the Guardians in his short tenure - and will be a great random jersey to look out for at future games - giving up zero runs in his eleven innings of work with the club, striking out 12 batters.
There was of course some hope López might figure into Cleveland's offseason plans, but Barlow helps lessen the blow. And, at this point at least, Barlow will come in at a cheaper price, as he is expected to earn about $7 million this season. López will make about $4 million in 2024 and $11 million in 2025 and 2026. There is also an $8 million club option for 2027 with a $4 million buyout.
Per usual, the free-agent market for relievers is out of control. In a perfect world, the Guardians could just sign both Barlow and López, but since we have to live in reality and contend with the state of Cleveland's eternal payroll issues, it would be behoove the team to try and use that money elsewhere if that's what it would have taken to keep López in town.