López, 24, came up through the Rays’ system and seemed to have a breakout season in 2022. He went from High-A to Double-A and then Triple-A last year, tossing a combined 59 1/3 innings across those three levels. He registered a 2.43 ERA in that time, striking out a tremendous 37.7% of batters faced, though also issuing walks to 15.1% of them.
Despite that strong season, the Rays couldn’t fit him onto their crowded roster ahead of the Rule 5 draft and he was nabbed by the Padres. His control issues continued to manifest in Spring Training, as he walked five batters in six innings. He wasn’t able to crack the Opening Day roster in San Diego and the Friars offered him back to the Rays, who accepted and sent him to Triple-A Durham.
Through June 10, he had tossed 26 innings at that level with a 5.19 ERA. He had lowered his walk rate to 11.1% but was also getting strikeouts at a reduced 23.1% clip. The Rays selected him to their 40-man roster at that point and he was able to make his major league debut by tossing two innings against the Rangers, allowing one earned run.
The Rays frequently cycle through pitchers at the fringes of their roster and quickly optioned Lopez back to Durham the next day. He was placed on the minor league injured list in early July, designated for assignment five days later and has now been released.