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New York Mets and reliever Jorge López agree to $2 million, 1-year contract, AP source says

NEW YORK (AP) — Relief pitcher Jorge López and the New York Mets have agreed to a $2 million, one-year contract, according to a person familiar with the deal.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Friday because the agreement was pending a physical and had not been announced by the team.

López gives the Mets another experienced arm as they rebuild their bullpen depth with low-cost castoffs.

The right-hander pitched for three playoff teams last season, going 6-2 with a 5.95 ERA and three saves in 61 relief appearances for Minnesota, Miami and Baltimore.

López, who turns 31 in February, moved exclusively to the bullpen in 2022 and was a dominant closer for the Orioles during four breakout months that earned him an All-Star selection. Baltimore traded him to the Twins in early August that year and he finished 4-7 with a 2.54 ERA and 23 saves in 67 games.

Besides that, he’s mostly struggled in eight major league seasons. López is 22-40 with a 5.51 ERA and 27 saves in 230 games, including 58 starts, for Milwaukee, Kansas City, Baltimore, Minnesota and Miami. He pitched for the Brewers when their general manager was David Stearns, the Mets' new president of baseball operations.

Stearns traded López and outfielder Brett Phillips to Kansas City in July 2018 for infielder Mike Moustakas.

López could earn a prominent role in a Mets bullpen with holes to fill behind star closer Edwin Díaz and lefty Brooks Raley. Right-handers Drew Smith and Phil Bickford return, and Stearns also signed free agents Austin Adams and Michael Tonkin to big league contracts this fall, although those two deals were non-guaranteed split contracts, with a lower rate of pay when assigned to the minor leagues.

New York relievers ranked 22nd in the majors with a 4.45 ERA last season.

López was traded from the Twins to the Marlins in late July, then claimed off waivers by Baltimore on Sept. 2. Ineligible for the postseason roster because he didn't rejoin the organization until September, he was assigned outright to Triple-A Norfolk by the AL East champion Orioles in early October and chose to become a free agent instead.

ESPN was first to report his agreement with the Mets.

Adams became available in November when he refused an assignment to the minors with Arizona. Tonkin, also a right-hander, was not offered a contract by Atlanta.

NOTES: The Mets also signed outfielder Taylor Kohlwey to a minor league contract with an invitation to big league spring training. The 29-year-old Kohlwey made his major league debut last season and went 2 for 13 in five games with the San Diego Padres. ... Former Mets pitcher and current broadcaster Ron Darling will be inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame in February. Darling was a pitching and hitting star at Yale from 1979-81 before getting drafted ninth overall by the Texas Rangers.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb

Mike Fitzpatrick, The Associated Press