Source confirms Phillies' pursuit of Houston Astros relief pitcher Wilton Lopez

Pat Sullivan/AP

A league source has confirmed multiple reports that the Phillies are near completing a trade that will bring righthanded reliever Wilton Lopez to the team from the Houston Astros.

Lopez was in Philadelphia Wednesday for a physical.

Lopez, 29, has spent the last four seasons with the Houston Astros, where he has developed into a top-notch late-inning reliever. In 213 career appearances, he is 13-13 with a 3.14 earned run average.


Now that B.J. Upton is off the market, which free-agent outfielder should the Phillies pursue?

He initially signed with the New York Yankees as a free agent in 2002. After being released by New York in 2007, he signed as a free agent with San Diego, but he did not make it to the big leagues until 2009 after Houston claimed him on waivers.

Lopez improved in each season with the Astros and had a career-best 2.17 ERA in 2012. He also saved 10 games in 13 attempts.

The Phillies, of course, would be more interested in Lopez as the setup role, which proved to be an Achilles' heal a year ago.

Because Lopez is a first-time arbitration eligible player, he will be an inexpensive alternative to some of the free agents on the market. That could allow the Phillies to spend more money as they attempt to address offensive issues.