Former Orioles reliever returns to Baltimore via waiver claim

An old Orioles reliever was claimed off waivers as they look to bolster their bullpen
New York Yankees v Miami Marlins: Jorge Lopez of the Miami Marlins throws a pitch against the Yankees
New York Yankees v Miami Marlins: Jorge Lopez of the Miami Marlins throws a pitch against the Yankees / Jasen Vinlove/Miami Marlins/GettyImages

After the Baltimore Orioles lost the series opener to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night, the team made a notable roster move on Saturday. With Félix Bautista injured and out indefinitely to go with the rosters expanding to 28 players, the Orioles made a move to add another arm to their bullpen.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post was first with the news that former Orioles reliever Jorge López was claimed off waivers on Saturday afternoon from the Miami Marlins. To make room for him on the 40-man roster, fellow reliever Logan Gillaspie was designated for assignment.

Baltimore Orioles bring back Jorge López with waiver claim

López has not yet reported to the Orioles on their road trip, so a move to get him on the 26-man roster has not been made yet. One possible move would be to option Joey Krehbiel back to Norfolk, who was called up as the 14th pitcher when rosters expanded on Friday.

Because López was added to the Orioles roster after August 31 at 11:59 PM, he is ineligible to be placed on any postseason roster for the Orioles. As per MLB guidelines, he can't be added to replace an injured player either, because he was not in the Orioles system as of August 31.

To say that López is having a tough season would be understating it a little bit. With the Minnesota Twins, he posted a 5.09 ERA, 5.92 FIP, and 1.274 WHIP, averaging 1.8 home runs per nine and 2.8 walks per nine in 37 appearances and 35 1/3 innings pitched, picking up three saves.

He was traded in July to the Miami Marlins in exchange for Dylan Floro. In 12 appearances and 11 2/3 innings with the Marlins, López had a 9.26 ERA, 5.32 FIP, and an ugly 2.486 WHIP, averaging a ghastly 6.9 walks per nine and 15.4 hits per nine in that time.

The advanced metrics don't favor López either. He's in the ninth percentile in strikeout percentage, 20th percentile in whiff percentage, 11th percentile in hard hit percentage, seventh percentile in average exit velocity, and sixth percentile in expected batting average.

At last year's trade deadline, López was notably traded to the Twins in exchange for Yennier Cano, Cade Povich, Juan Rojas, and Juan Nunez. Cano has become one of the Orioles best relievers, while Povich has reached Triple A Norfolk, one step from the big leagues.

Now, López is back with the team that turned him into one of baseball's best relievers in 2022, making the AL All Star team with 19 saves, a 1.68 ERA, and 0.972 WHIP in 48 1/3 innings before he was traded. López is still under team control through the end of next year, with this offseason being his final year of arbitration.

Meanwhile, Gillaspie is the roster casualty for the Orioles. In 11 relief appearances with the Orioles, he has a 6.00 ERA, 6.37 FIP, and 2.111 WHIP, averaging 14 hits per nine and five walks per nine in nine innings pitched. With Norfolk this season, he has a 4.71 ERA and 1.49 WHIP with five saves in 36 1/3 innings and 34 appearances.