SF Giants add speedy utility bat in trade with Blue Jays, DFA outfielder T.J. Hopkins

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The SF Giants swung a trade on Tuesday, acquiring infielder/outfielder Otto López from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for cash considerations. Outfielder T.J. Hopkins was designated for assignment in a corresponding move, per a team announcement.

SF Giants add speedy utility bat in trade with Blue Jays, DFA outfielder T.J. Hopkins

The Blue Jays recently added Yariel Rodríguez on a five-year deal. Rodríguez had posted a 3.03 ERA in 79 appearances over the past three seasons in the NPB. López had been on the waiver wire after the Blue Jays designated him for assignment following the Rodríguez signing.

Joining San Francisco feels like a good landing spot for López. Middle infield depth has been a priority for the Giants all winter. Unfortunately, free agency did not offer many options, so a trade seemed likely.

The Blue Jays originally signed López as an amateur free agent out of the Dominican Republic for $60,000 in 2016. The right-handed bat made an uncharacteristically rapid ascent up the minor league ladder. He was in Low-A as a 20-year-old prospect in 2019 but reached the majors as a 22-year-old prospect during the 2021 season.

This was due in part to the canceled 2020 season and the fact that the Blue Jays protected him from the Rule 5 draft after that same season. Oftentimes, adding a young player to the 40-man roster accelerates their development, and that was the case with López.

In six minor league seasons, the 25-year-old registered a .298/.364/.407 line with an 8.4 percent walk rate, 14.5 percent strikeout rate, and a .109 ISO. In parts of three seasons in Triple-A, he has tallied a .733 OPS. López has briefly appeared with the Blue Jays as well, recording six hits in 10 at-bats in parts of two seasons.

The infield prospect does not hit for much power and that does not project to improve at this stage of his career. However, he is a good hitter who sprays the ball all over the field. López tends to grind out at-bats and has excellent contact skills. He does have above-average speed and can swipe a few bases, but his 70.8 percent success relate in the minors likely means that he is low-volume base-stealing threat at the next level.

López is capable of playing multiple positions on defense. This includes second base, shortstop, and center field. He is serviceable at both shortstop and center field, but his best position is second base. The Giants have enough coverage at second base with Thairo Estrada, so that is not a position of need. And, they should be covered in center field as well.

However, passable defense at shortstop holds value to a team like the Giants. As currently constructed, Marco Luciano is the only other shortstop listed on the 40-man roster. Estrada has experience at shortstop as well, but second base is his better position.

The Giants need depth at shortstop in case of an injury or underperformance from Luciano. The addition of López does give them a little more coverage at that position, Interestingly, he does have one minor league otion remaining according to Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic.

To make room on the roster, T.J. Hopkins was designated for assignment. The Giants acquired him in a trade with the Cincinnati Reds earlier in the offseason.