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Monday, January 22, 2007
Lopez, Nationals agree to $3.9 million, 1-year deal

Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Felipe Lopez and the Washington Nationals avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $3.9 million, one-year deal Monday.

Felipe Lopez

Lopez and the club met right in the middle: He had asked for $4.1 million when he filed for arbitration, while the Nationals submitted a $3.7 million offer. Lopez made $2.7 million last year.

He's played most of his major league career as a shortstop but has agreed to shift to second base in 2007, when he's expected to be Washington's leadoff hitter.

The Nationals acquired Lopez in July in a trade with the Cincinnati Reds. He batted .274 overall in 2006, with 11 homers, 52 RBIs and 44 steals.

Lopez's best season came with the Reds in 2005, when he was an All-Star and hit .291 with 23 homers and 85 RBIs.

The agreement left four Nationals in arbitration: starter John Patterson, closer Chad Cordero, and outfielders Austin Kearns and Alex Escobar.