Arbitration offered to five Nationals

Arbitration offered to five Nationals

The Nationals on Tuesday offered salary arbitration to reliever Luis Ayala, outfielder Marlon Byrd, infielder Jamey Carroll, first baseman Nick Johnson and catcher Brian Schneider, and non-tendered second baseman Junior Spivey, outfielder Alex Escobar and reliever T. J. Tucker.

According to league rules, the Nationals had until midnight ET on Tuesday to tender contracts to unsigned players.

Ayala, considered one of the best setup men in baseball, went 8-7 with a 2.66 ERA in 2005. He pitched in only two games in September because of a bone spur in his right elbow, but he had surgery in October and is expected to be 100 percent.

Byrd, who came over from the Phillies in the May 14 trade for Endy Chavez, hit .264 with two home runs and 26 RBIs in 74 games for Washington.

Jamey Carroll, a favorite of manager Frank Robinson and one of the most fundamentally sound players on the team, hit .251 with 22 RBIs in 113 games.

Johnson enjoyed the best year of his career, hitting .289 with 18 home runs and 74 RBIs, and Schneider hit .268 with 10 home runs and 44 RBIs.

Spivey, acquired from the Brewers in the Tomo Ohka trade on June 10, appeared in just 28 games for the Nationals. He missed a lot of the season because of a broken right radius.

Although non-tendered, Tucker -- who missed most of the season because of Tommy John surgery -- did sign a Minor League deal.

Escobar, acquired from the White Sox for Jerry Owens last February, never played a game for the Nationals because of a foot injury. Like Tucker, Escobar signed a minor league deal.

In other news, free agent right-hander Brett Tomko rejected a two-year offer from the Nationals, and Rick Short's contract was sold to the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Japanese Baseball League.

According to a baseball source, there is no truth to the story in the Washington Examiner that the Nationals are talking to the Cubs about a trade that would bring Kerry Wood to the Nationals in exchange for second baseman Jose Vidro and outfielder Ryan Church.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.