Deal between Giants, Lopez looks imminent

SAN FRANCISCO — Reliever Javier Lopez appeared destined to remain a Giant as various sources said Wednesday that the sides were close to agreeing to terms on a contract extension.<p/>

An industry source familiar with the negotiations told MLB.com that a deal was virtually done with Lopez, widely considered the top situational left-hander available in free agency. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports and Bay Area Sports Guy blogger Steve Berman reported that Lopez would receive a three-year contract.<p/>

Giants general manager Brian Sabean essentially acknowledged that the Giants and Lopez were near an accord. During Tuesday’s conference call to announce right-hander Tim Hudson’s two-year deal, Sabean said that the Giants were “fully engaged” with Lopez, adding, “Hopefully we’ll have him signed soon enough.”<p/>

Lopez, who was believed to have drawn interest from at least 10 teams, repeated toward the end of the regular season that he hoped to stick with the Giants, who acquired him from Pittsburgh at the 2010 Trade Deadline. Since then, Lopez has thrived, posting a 14-4 record with a 2.26 ERA in 236 appearances for San Francisco.<p/>

Lopez is coming off the best season of his 11-year career. He recorded a personal-best 1.83 ERA and led the National League by allowing only 10.5 percent (6-of-57) of his inherited baserunners to score.<p/>

The Giants have been among the Major Leagues’ most active teams. Lopez would be the third incumbent player they’ve signed since late September to prevent from fleeing through agency, joining right fielder Hunter Pence and right-hander Tim Lincecum. San Francisco also signed Hudson on Tuesday, adding perceived quality and depth to the starting rotation.

Chris Haft

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