Braves acquire Nicky Lopez, adding infield versatility

July 30th, 2023

ATLANTA -- The Braves gained their backup infielder when they acquired from the Royals in exchange for left-handed pitcher Taylor Hearn on Sunday night.  

Lopez produced a .603 OPS over 187 plate appearances for Kansas City this year. But he’s just two years removed from hitting .300 with a .744 OPS over 565 plate appearances for the Royals.  The 28-year-old veteran has primarily played the middle infield positions, but spent some regular time at third base this year. 

Braves get: INF Nicky Lopez
Royals get: LHP Taylor Hearn

With the addition of Lopez, the Braves may be more willing to give their infielders an occasional day off down the stretch. Charlie Culberson has tallied just one at-bat while serving as Atlanta’s backup infielder for most of the past 10 weeks.  

The Braves claimed Hearn off waivers from the Rangers last week primarily because he was optionable. But keeping him just to create roster flexibility seemed less attractive after he allowed two hits, including a homer, and issued two walks while facing just five batters in Saturday’s win over the Brewers.