The Brewers acquired veteran second baseman Felipe Lopez from the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday for minor league outfielder Cole Gillespie and relief pitcher Roque Mercedes. Lopez is the second second baseman acquired mid-season in as many years, as the Crew added Ray Durham in ’08 to fill in for the struggling Rickie Weeks. The need for a second baseman arose after Weeks had a season-ending injury earlier this year. Like Durham last year, Lopez is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, meaning the Brewers will have to negotiate with him to keep him, but will not be saddled with a long-term contract either.
Lopez, 29, is hitting .301 with 6 HR’s and 25 RBI’s in 85 games this season. A versatile switch-hitter, Lopez is hitting .298 versus righties, and .313 versus lefties.
Lopez may very easily be tabbed the new lead off hitter due to his versatility and speed. The big decision looms as to which of the Brewers’ four third basemen will be sent to the minors or released–Mat Gamel, who is only hitting .239 and could benefit from playing every day, or Bill Hall, who served as a right-handed hitting option to Gamel at third. With the addition of Lopez as an everyday second baseman, Casey McGehee–who also filled in at second–is likely to be used almost solely as a third baseman. If the Brewers decide that the left-handed hitting Gamel is needed to compliment the right-handed hitting McGehee, Hall could be dealt or released. Another option: Jody Gerut could get released…and Hall gets moved back to the outfield.