He should stay After years of floundering as a starter and his once-elite fastball becoming decidedly pedestrian, López found a new lease on life in the bullpen. His heater once again touched triple digits and averaged a career high 97.1 mph on the radar, and his secondary pitches all played up as well, leading to less of the hard contact which plagued him in his down years. Entering his final year of arbitration, López is still a relatively cheap commodity with good upside and has a dogged, competitive attitude that seems to work well in high-leverage situations.
He should go With only one year of control left, López is a short-term asset and it might be prudent to cash in on him while his value is at its apex. The return of his fastball didn’t lead to any increase in his strikeout rate, which is still quite underwhelming for a reliever with his stuff. Anybody not willing to bet on López’s gains being sustainable should be able to get decent value for him in a trade.
The verdict In a bullpen full of expensive right-handed options, López is one of the few with high upside on a reasonable price tag. If the team is trying to jettison the salaries of Kendall Graveman/Joe Kelly/Liam Hendriks, López will likely remain to fill the void within the White Sox budget. Having extensive and recent experience as a starter also gives him a bit of versatility, something the team definitely needs as it builds pitching depth it sorely lacked in 2022.