Although it didn’t result in a playoff appearance, Felipe Lopez was a very successful midseason acquisition for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2009. The switch-hitting infielder took over for an injured Rickie Weeks and posted a tremendous .320/.407/.448 triple-slash line in just under 300 plate appearances in the second half of the season.
With Rickie Weeks sidelined from two to six weeks with an ankle injury, the Brewers have called on Lopez again, acquiring him from the Rays for cash considerations. One would hardly imagine the 31-year-old Lopez can fill in so admirably in 2011, as he’s been languishing in Triple-A since a poor 100-plate appearance stint with Tampa Bay. Since his excellent 2009 season, things have been rough for Lopez: he’s posted a .230/.299/.340 triple-slash since 2010.
One will immediately notice that despite the unimpressive quality of Lopez’s recent performance, it’s still better than Yuniesky Betancourt (.251/.271/.368) and Casey McGehee (.230/.283/.320) entering Thursday’s game, and Lopez put together his offensive performances largely in pitchers’ parks (Busch Stadium and Tropicana Field). Craig Counsell‘s hitless streak sits at 41 at-bats as well. Lopez may not have much recent success offensively and he’s never had much of a glove, but it isn’t difficult to envision him as an upgrade over the current roster, whether it’s as a Weeks replacement at second or as a fill-in at third.
As Adam McCalvy reported, the Brewers don’t see Lopez as the ultimate panacea and will look to add even more infield help — after all, the Brewers already needed help in the infield even before Weeks went down. Lopez just adds some flexibility for the Brewers, both in solving the new problem at second base as well as the old one at third.