Nicky Lopez loses to KC Royals in salary arbitration

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Kansas City Royals second baseman Nicky Lopez gets the force out on Toronto Blue Jays' Cavan Biggio at second, but couldn't make the play to first during the ninth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, June 8, 2022, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann)

NEW YORK – Kansas City infielder Nicky Lopez lost his salary arbitration case with the Royals on Friday and will get $2.55 million instead of his $2.9 million request, a decision that clinched management’s third straight winning record.

Teams lead 8-3 with just three cases pending, involving New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge, Atlanta left-hander Max Fried and Miami catcher Jacob Stallings. Hearings are scheduled through next week.

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Melinda Gordon, Scott Buccheit and John Woods made the Lopez case decision on Friday, a day after hearing arguments.

Lopez had career bests of a .300 average and 22 stolen bases in 23 chances last season, when he had two homers and 43 RBIs. He made $597,500 and was eligible for arbitration for the first time. The 27-year-old shortstop and second baseman is hitting .214 with five RBIs and four steals this year.

No statistics or evidence from after March 1 are admissible other than contract and salary comparisons. The timing was set when Major League Baseball and the players’ association agreed to the deal that ended the lockout.

In earlier decisions, Atlanta outfielder Adam Duvall ($9,275,000), Braves third baseman Austin Riley ($3.95 million), injured Atlanta reliever Luke Jackson ($3.6 million), St. Louis outfielder Tyler O'Neill ($3.4 million), Miami right-hander Pablo López ($2.45 million), Milwaukee right-hander Adrian Houser ($2,425,000) and Cincinnati pitcher Lucas Sims ($1.2 million) lost their cases.

Atlanta shortstop Dansby Swanson ($10 million), Seattle second baseman/outfielder Adam Frazier ($8 million) and Kansas City outfielder Andrew Benintendi ($8.5 million) won.

Arbitration hearings usually are held during the first three weeks of February but were delayed by the lockout.


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