Could Reynaldo Lopez return to the Guardians?

Cleveland Guardians v San Francisco Giants
Cleveland Guardians v San Francisco Giants / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

Is there a world where Reynaldo Lopez returns to the Cleveland Guardians? This was a question asked to longtime Cleveland baseball beat reporter Paul Hoynes. While a clear yes or no was not provided, Hoynes did appear optimistic about the front office at least exploring the idea.

"The way Lopez pitched out of the bullpen after being claimed on waivers from the Angels was eye opening. The Guardians could use another power arm at the back of the pen. I would imagine they’ll do more than kick the tires when it comes to trying to sign him as a free agent."

Paul Hoynes on a possible Lopez reunion

So you're saying there's a chance? Kicking the tires is the least the Guardians could do when it comes to possibly retaining the services of Lopez. The 29-year-old veteran proved to be a solid addition to Cleveland's bullpen for their final month-plus of games, not allowing a single run in any of his 12 appearances. Lopez would strike out 12 of 40 batters faced in 11 innings of work, allowing just five hits and walking four.

A former starter, Lopez's transition to a reliever has proven to be a worthwhile endeavor. The veteran arm has seen his strikeouts per nine increase every year, while his hits allowed are less than any of his years as a starter.

The Guardians have to improve their bullpen this offseason and they should start with bringing back Lopez before making other noteworthy additions. There were too many times this past year which saw arms pitching more than they should have been, with predictable results following more often than not. If this team truly wants to contend next season, they must have better performances out of their relief arms, because running it back sans-Lopez is not an acceptable approach.