Rockies acquire reliever Wilton Lopez from Astros

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

Nashville, TN, United States (4E Sports) – Eyeing to boost their bullpen, the Colorado Rockies have traded right-handed starter Alex White and minor league pitcher Alex Gillingham to the Houston Astros for righty reliever Wilton Lopez and a player to be named or cash.

The 29-year-old Lopez went 6-3 with a 2.17 ERA and 10 saves in 64 appearances last season. He has thrown 205 innings over the last three seasons.

“He’s a high-end strike-thrower and he’s got a very good ground-ball percentage — those are two things that are important to us,” said Bill Geivett, the Rockies’ senior vice president of Major League operations.

“We know he’s got the ability to pitch later in games, and for us to strengthen our ‘pen we thought this would be a very good move for us. We feel we’ve got a good bullpen but we feel we can make it stronger,” Geivett added.

Lopez will join lefty Rex Brothers and righty Matt Belisle as the Rockies setup men for closer Rafael Betancourt. The Rockies could also use him to close game if Betancourt needs rest

In 232 2/3 career innings, Lopez has 169 career strikeouts against 39 walks and 18 home runs, with 69.2 percent of his outs on ground balls.

“We saw him against us. We really like his stuff in terms of fastball, slider and changeup,” Geivett said. “He has a very good sinker in the low-to-mid-90s.”

The Rockies gave up the 24-year-old White, who went 2-9 with a 5.51 ERA in 23 games, including 20 starts. He finished with 64 strikeouts against 51 walks in 98 innings.

By acquiring a starter like White, the Astros have fulfilled one of their off-season goals.

“He (Lopez) was our closer at the end of the year, he’s been a very effective reliever. But when we look at where we are as an organization and what we have to accomplish — to be able to bring a starting pitcher like Alex White,” Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said.

The 23-year-old Gillingham went 6-9 with a 3.66 ERA in 123 innings at Class A Asheville in 2012, his first full pro season. The Rockies selected Gillingham out of Loyola Marymount in the 11th round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft.

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