Reynaldo Lopez - rental
Reynaldo Lopez is the 29-year-old, flame-throwing righty from the Dominican Republic. He is a fastball and slider guy, and with his stuff, why not? He has thrown his four-seam fastball which averages 98.3 mph 61.8% of the time this season and his 87.9 mph slider 31.4% of the time.
Lopez has had the reverse season that Middleton has had. He started out slow and has been pitching great over his last 24 games. From a season standpoint, Middleton has slightly better results, but from May 14 on, Lopez has the superior numbers. The struggle was real early on. In his first 19 games and 16 1/3 innings pitched, he had 24 strikeouts, eight walks, six home runs allowed, a batting average against of .299, resulting in a dismal 8.27 ERA.
However, in his last 24 games and 25 2/3 innings pitched, Lopez has 28 strikeouts, 14 walks, one home run surrendered, a batting average against of only .148, and a 1.75 ERA. Talk about the hot hand. MLB relievers are an interesting lot, and their stock can rise and fall quicker than the latest cryptocurrency. The Rangers would love to add a hard throwing right-hander to the bullpen, and Lopez might fit the bill.
Kendall Graveman - one more year of control @ $8M
Kendall Graveman has stepped up for the White Sox this year and taken over the closer duties that were vacated due to Liam Hendricks being sidelined with first cancer and then injury. Graveman has struggled a bit since the end of June but still has solid numbers for the season.
For the year, he has been a part of 44 games and 43 innings pitched, struck out 41, walked 20, given up 6 home runs, has a 3.56 ERA, and a 1.209 WHIP. He has also held opponents to a .207 batting average this season. After a rough outing in his last appearance where he allowed three runs in an inning of work, his ERA went from 3.00 on the year up to its current mark of 3.56.
Graveman is also a right-handed pitcher that has thrown in some high-leverage spots. He has handled the closer duties this year but is fine with a supporting role as well. Also, is there a better name for a shutdown reliever than Graveman? I think not! The cost of acquisition for the 32-year-old reliever will be higher as he still has a year of control beyond this one and at the price tag of $8 million. Adding the veteran reliever to the mix in the Rangers bullpen would be welcomed by Bruce Bochy as he navigates the Rangers through the rest of the regular season and hopefully well into October.