Fighting for the second base spot and likely to make the Nationals as a backup infielder, Espinosa will make $540,000 this season assuming he spends it in the major leagues, according to a person close to the team. Espinosa’s big league salary last year was $526,000, according to the Cot’s Baseball Contracts database.
Because Espinosa has yet to accrue enough service time to qualify for arbitration, the Nationals owed him only the league minimum salary of $500,000. They tossed in an extra $40,000 as a good-faith gesture for a player who entered 2013 entrenched as their second baseman and then fell on hard times.
Espinosa needed two years and 122 days of service time to qualify for salary arbitration as a “Super Two” player. He finished nine days short.
The Nationals optioned Espinosa to Class AAA Syracuse on June 19, after he spent 15 days on the disabled list with a fractured wrist. Espinosa hoped for a call-up as a defensive replacement or pinch runner, but the Nationals never summoned him as they made a late push.
Espinosa entered last year with a torn labrum in his left shoulder and never found his swing. He hit .158/.193/.272 and struck out 47 times in 167 major league plate appearances.