The Arizona Diamondbacks have pulled the strings on a deal to send 2B Felipe Lopez to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for two minor leaguers, pitcher Roque Mercedes and outfielder Cole Gillespie. No word yet on what teams they will be assigned to in our system, though I would assume it would be Class A for Mercedes and AAA for Gillespie.
Mercedes was 1-1 with a 1.08 ERA in 29 relief appearances in the Florida State League, while Gillespie hit .242 with seven homers and 27 RBIs for Triple-A Nashville.
Josh Byrnes: "Obviously with where we are in the standings, you have to consider trades like this. Felipe played really well for us and fit in well, especially with the younger players. The reality is he’s a free agent at the end of the year and brought back two guys who we think have some long-term value to us in Gillespie and Mercedes."
Felipe Lopez: "It’s the business side of baseball. I’m leaving here on a good note. I love this organization. It’s one of the reasons I signed here to begin with. I believe in this team and still do. This team is only a couple of guys, a couple of things away from being real good. Everyone treated me well, coaches, players."
Cole Gillespie was drafted by the Brewers in 2006. He has progressed pretty quickly through the minors - rookie leagie in 2006, High Class A in 2007, AA in 2008, and AAA this year. He has a career .281 batting average with 42 home runs and 61 stolen bases. Roque Mercedes has bounced around between Rookie Ball and Class A since 2005. So far this season for the High Class A Brevard County Manatees, he is 1-1 with a 1.08 ERA.
Felipe Lopez was signed by the Diamondbacks in December, 2008 to a 1-year contract worth approximately $3.5 million. He has been a mainstay in the lineup, fairly consistent defensively and offensively for Arizona this season, though at times his hustle was questioned. In 81 games, he made 9 errors in 389 chances (.977%). Before today, Lopez was hitting .305 (and he was around .300 most of the season) with 6 home runs, 6 stolen bases, and 25 RBI.
Josh Byrnes said the Diamondbacks will use Ryan Roberts and Augie Ojeda at second base.
At first glance, I'm not wild about this trade. Lopez was one of the bright spots for Arizona's offense this season, and while I understand the reasons to trade him to a team that needs him, I feel he was worth much more than a Class A pitcher and mediocre AAA outfielder. We could have at least gotten a AAA reliever who can be called up in September and tested then. We already have a logjam in the outfield - though I'm not sure how ready Gillespie is, if his numbers improve, this deal could clear way to trade Eric Byrnes or Conor Jackson down the road. One thing's for sure - it will take several years to see the benefits of this deal.