The Detroit Tigers have signed former Red Sox infielder Jack Lopez to a minor-league contract for the 2022 season, according to Carlos Baerga on Instagram. Per Baerga, the deal also includes an invite to major-league spring training.
Lopez, 29, originally inked a minors pact with the Sox last January after spending the first nine years of his professional career with the Royals and Braves organizations.
A former 2011 16th-round draft pick of Kansas City, Lopez opened the 2021 season with Double-A Portland, though it took him all of a week to earn a promotion to Triple-A Worcester.
With the WooSox, the right-handed hitter batted .274/.345/.386 (99 wRC+) with 14 doubles, one triple, three home runs, 33 RBIs, 29 runs, 15 stolen bases, 19 walks, and 54 strikeouts over 68 games (252 plate appearances) while seeing time at second base, third base, shortstop, center field, and right field.
In July, Lopez stepped away from affiliated ball to represent the United States and help Team USA win a silver medal in the Tokyo Olympics. Upon returning from Japan, the versatile infielder quickly found himself on the doorstep of the big-leagues.
While the Red Sox were navigating their way through a COVID-19 outbreak in late August, Lopez had his contract selected from Worcester on the first day of September. He made his major-league debut against the Rays that same night and would go on to hit .154/.214/.308 in seven games across two stints with Boston.
Since he was taken off the Sox’ 40-man roster on Sept. 21 and closed out the year with the WooSox, Lopez was eligible to become a minor-league free agent in November.
The Rio Piedras native returned to his home island this off-season to suit up for Cangrejeros de Santurce of the Puerto Rican Winter League. Playing alongside Christian Vazquez Christian Vazquez at one point, Lopez posted a .540 OPS and stole six bases while appearing in 30 games for Santurce.
Lopez, who is listed at 5-foot-10 and 160 pounds, is about to embark upon his age-29 season since he does not turn 30 until December. The Tigers represent the fourth organization Lopez will be a member of dating back to 2011.
At present, Detroit has nine infielders on their 40-man roster, including fellow Puerto Rican national Javier Baez. If Detroit values versatility, it will be interesting to see if Lopez can make a case to make the team’s Opening Day roster once spring training (hopefully) begins.
(Picture of Jack Lopez: Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)