Lopez, Nationals avoid arbitration

Lopez, Nationals avoid arbitration

Last week, infielder Felipe Lopez and the Nationals exchanged arbitration figures, with Lopez wanting $4.1 million and the Nationals offering him $3.7 million. The two parties reached a compromised when Lopez agreed to a one year, $3.9 million contract on Monday night.

Last season, Lopez, who was acquired from the Reds in a eight-player trade last July, hit a combined .274 with 11 home runs, 52 RBIs and 44 stolen bases. He set career highs in walks (81), runs (98) and steals.

Lopez will have a pair of new roles in 2007. He will make the switch from shortstop to second base, a position he has played 12 times, and become the leadoff hitter, replacing Alfonso Soriano. Lopez batted second last year.

The signing leaves right-handers John Patterson and Chad Cordero and outfielders Austin Kearns and Alex Escobar as the Nationals' remaining arbitration-eligible players.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.