The Atlanta Braves bolstered their bullpen by signing right-hander Reynaldo López to a three-year, $30-million contract, the team announced Monday.
López’s backloaded deal will see him earn $4 million in 2024, and $11 million in the following two seasons. He also gets an $8-million club option for 2027 with a $4-million buyout.
The 29-year-old enjoyed a solid season in 2023, posting a 3.27 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 83 strikeouts, and six saves over 66 innings split between the Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Angels, and Cleveland Guardians. He found particular success with his fastball, holding opponents to a meager .188/.226/.319 slash line against the pitch.
López began last year with the White Sox and was traded to the Angels ahead of the trade deadline, before being claimed on waivers by Cleveland in late August. He finished his year on a tear, allowing no runs in 12 appearances with the Guardians down the stretch.
One of the few issues for López in 2023 was walks. His 4.6 BB/9 rate was the highest of his career over a 162-game campaign. However, he countered that by posting a career-best 11.3 K/9 rate and allowing only eight home runs.
Originally signed by the Washington Nationals out of the Dominican Republic in 2012, López was traded to the White Sox as a rookie and spent seven seasons on the South Side of Chicago. Prolonged struggles as a starter led to his being moved to the bullpen in 2021, where he reinvented himself as a lights-out reliever. He owns a lifetime 3.01 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and 176 strikeouts with a 9.6 K/9 rate coming out of the bullpen.
López brings another quality late-inning arm to the Braves’ bullpen behind closer Raisel Iglesias. He could be deployed in a variety of scenarios by manager Brian Snitker, whether it be setting up for Iglesias in the eighth or facing middle-order right-handed hitters in the sixth and seventh.
This is the second major bullpen acquisition by Atlanta in the past week. On Thursday, the team acquired left-hander Aaron Bummer – López’s longtime bullpen-mate – from the White Sox for a package of five players.