Colorado Rockies Acquire Right-Handed Reliever Wilton Lopez

Paul Francis SullivanChief Writer IDecember 5, 2012

HOUSTON,TX - APRIL 21: Wilton Lopez #59 of the Houston Astros throws against the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 21, 2012 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Colorado Rockies bolstered their bullpen by trading for Houston Astros reliever Wilton Lopez. According to the Associated Press (via Yahoo Sports), the Rockies sent 23-year-old Single-A pitcher Alex Gillingham and 24-year-old big leaguer Alex White to the Astros in exchange for the 29-year-old native of Nicaragua.

Lopez had bounced around in the minor leagues between the New York Yankees and San Diego Padres system before making his big league debut with the Astros in 2009 .

In 2010, 2011 and 2012, he put together three straight solid if not eye popping seasons in Houston. He had three straight seasons where his ERA was under 3.00. His strikeout-to-walk ratio in 2010 was 10-to-1.

Last season with the dreadful Astros, he posted a 2.17 ERA, won six games and saved 10. That means that Lopez had a win or a save in 29 percent of the team's victories.

His pinpoint control and being a groundball pitcher make him an ideal reliever in many ways in Denver. Keeping runners off the baseball paths is a must at Coors Field where three-run homers are common place. Driving the ball into the ground is a practical way to avoid the multi-homer games.

The deal is not without some question marks. According to Troy E. Renck of The Denver Post, the Philadelphia Phillies backed off of a Lopez deal due to his health. Lopez had elbow issues that landed him on the disabled list in 2012.

The inclusion of Alex White means that the Rockies had given up on one of the key figures in the Ubaldo Jimenez trade.

But, according to Renck, director of Colorado Rockies major league operations Bill Geivett sais "We are comfortable with [Lopez's] health."

The Rockies may not have a lot of save situations in 2013, but they know that, if healthy, they have a potential solid anchor who might indeed fit into Coors Field.