Lopez has been so good as a reliever this year that he made his first All-Star Game.
After years of failing as a starting pitcher, Baltimore decided to try him in the bullpen, and the results have been amazing.
In 48.1 innings, he has an incredible 1.68 ERA and a 2.99 Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP), while striking out 27.6% of the hitters he has faced and accumulating 1.1 Wins Above Replacement (WAR).
He has been one of the best relievers in the American League, so the Twins had to incentive the O’s to trade him.
The Athletic’s Dan Connolly, who covers the Orioles, talked to Lopez as he said goodbye to the O’s.
“Jorge Lopez said he was planning to be in the Orioles’ hotel lobby and try to hug as many teammates as he can before he leaves for the airport. On the Orioles: ‘It became more than a family. It’s a lot of tears because we worked so hard to get to this point,'” the pitcher said, per Connolly.
Jorge Lopez said he was planning to be in the Orioles' hotel lobby and try to hug as many teammates as he can before he leaves for the airport. On the Orioles: "It became more than a family. It’s a lot of tears because we worked so hard to get to this point."
— Dan Connolly (@danconnolly2016) August 2, 2022
The Orioles Are Finally Competitive
When Lopez says it has been hard for the O’s to “get to this point”, he refers to being competitive.
They had one of the worst records in the majors last year, but in 2022, they are playing over .500.
They are, before Tuesday’s games, 52-51 and aren’t in the basement of the AL East, to the surprise of many.
The Orioles traded Trey Mancini and Lopez, but they weren’t about going for a playoff spot in 2022.
They just arrived a year early, but may not be ready to make the postseason as currently constructed.
They will, instead, shoot for contention in 2023, and they have the pieces to pull off a surprise.