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Lopez, Nationals agree to $3.9 million, 1-year deal

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

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.