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Lopez looks likely to land in Tampa Bay

Two-time former Cardinals infielder Felipe Lopez is close to a deal to play for Tampa Bay in 2011, according to the St. Petersburg Times.

The 30-year-old shortstop and second baseman was used out of his comfort zone last season in St. Louis, playing plenty of third base after David Freese was injured. But it was more due to his poor attitude than his disappointing bat and shoddy defense that the veteran was released before the end of the season.

Playing for a team that still had playoff aspirtations, Lopez reportedly was late for team functions and games and openly disinterested and unfocused in going about his baseball business.

A career .266 hitter, Lopez managed only a .231 batting average with the Cardinals in 2010. It was a far cry from the .385 mark he managed in 43 games in 2008.

Lopez has played for Toronto, Cincinnati, Washington, Arizona, Milwaukee and Boston besides his Cardinals days. The Red Sox picked him up at the end of last season -- after Lopez rejected a potential deal to play in the post season hunt with the Padres -- soley so they could get a draft pick by letting him sign elsewhere as a free agent.

Apparently Lopez's attitude has soured the league on his physical abilities. He only got a low dollar deal from the Cardinals in 2010, signing Feb. 27 after no other team would give him a multi-year deal. No word yet on his Tampa contract, but I'd be surprised if it was more than a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training.

If that's the case, it looks like the Red Sox won't receive a draft pick after all. I believe that compensatory picks only apply to major league deals.

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