Bits and Pieces of Nats News

Felipe Lopez and the Washington Nationals met in the middle and agreed to a 1-year deal with $3.9 million Monday.
Lopez, who will move to second base this season, filed for arbitration requesting $4.1 million. The Nationals offered $3.7 million. He ends up with a $1.2 million raise from 2006. Not too shabby.

Lopez, who is expected to bat leadoff this season, batted .274 overall in 2006, with 11 homers, 52 RBIs and 44 steals for the Reds and Nationals. No multi-year deal, eh? Read into that what you will. Maybe they iron out an extension during the season or let him loose in the free agent market in 2008.

Ramon Ortiz, Washington’s only pitcher to hit double-digits in wins last year, has a new employer signing a 1-year deal worth $3.1 million with the Minnesota Twins Monday. Ortiz is expected to be a No. 3 or No. 4 pitcher for the Twins, who are without two of their starters from last year-Brad Radke (retirement) and Francisco Liriano (left elbow surgery; out for 2007). Ortiz went 11-16 with a 5.57 ERA for the Nationals last season. Ortiz is 0-3 lifetime with an 8.00 ERA at the Metrodome. I wish the Twins luck with Ortiz. Sure, he can eat up innings but the ERA? Ouch.  If Ortiz tanks it, the Twins have a couple of talented young arms (Matt Garza and Scott Baker) ready to replace him.

When Brian Lawrence throws a pitch in a 2007 regular season game for the Colorado Rockies, it’ll be one more pitch than he did as a Washington National.

Lawrence, who suffered a torn labrum and rotator cuff during last year’s spring training and was never heard from again, joined the Rockies Monday agreeing to a 1-year deal worth $750,000 ($500K base salary) with a $250K buyout club option for 2008. 

The Nationals paid Lawrence a base salary of $3.5 million in 2006. There was a club option for $7.5 million for 2007 and a buyout for $550,000. The Nationals bought out Lawrence deal owing just $125,000, while San Diego paid the rest.

Lawrence is known as a groundball pitcher which should help him in the thin air of Denver. Lifetime at Coors, Lawrence is 4-2 with a 4.72 ERA in nine games. Apparently, he lived there as a youngster and still has family there.  I don’t know why I added that but I’ll leave it in anyways.

Lefty pitcher Michael O’Connor isn’t a part of the Nationals starting pitcher rotation logjam come spring training. Whew! That’s one crossed off the list.

The Nationals Farm Authority is the premier site for all things related to the Nationals Minor League system. On Friday, NFA interviewed Nationals Director of Scouting, Dana Brown, who has racked up some crazy frequent flier miles during the offseason. Great in-depth interview.

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