Felipe Lopez Loses Arbitration
His decision to actually go to arbitration was the big surprise. Last season, Lopez hit .245 with nine home runs and 50 RBIs. A lead-off hitter who struck out during almost 20% of his at-bats, his OBP was only .308. Lopez also struggled defensively collecting 20 errors. Only 11 players in Major League Baseball had more last season (though those players include Zimmerman, Wright, and H. Ramirez). Unfortuantely, Nats fans know that many of those errors were momentum changing moments that eventually cost the Nats a few wins and leveled a charge from some that he wasn't trying.
Lopez said of the arbitration process, often known to be a difficult experience, that hearing the team talk about his terrible performance in 2006 just fired him up.
The club has said that Belliard and Guzman will come into spring training with the nod at 2nd and short, but Lopez wants to play hard and earn his starting spot. He said recently:
A lot of people have had bad years -- a lot of good players -- and they bounce back. That what I want to do. I want to bounce back.
We will see. There is little doubt that Lopez has a lot of potential but private personal problems have admittedly affected his on-field focus. A 2005 All-Star, we're hoping Felipe Lopez can put last season behind him and have a big comeback in 2008.