Nats reach one-year deal with Snelling

Nats reach one-year deal with Snelling

WASHINGTON -- Outfielder Chris Snelling avoided salary arbitration with the Nationals on Tuesday afternoon, agreeing to a one-year, $450,000 contract.

The signing means that Chad Cordero, Alex Escobar, Austin Kearns, Felipe Lopez and John Patterson are the only members of the Nats who are still arbitration-eligible.

Snelling, 25, was acquired Dec. 18 along with right-hander Emiliano Fruto as part of the trade that sent veteran Jose Vidro to the Mariners. Snelling is expected to compete with Kory Casto, Ryan Church and Escobar for the starting left-field job.

Snelling had a subpar season in 2006, hitting .216 with five home runs and 39 RBIs for Triple-A Tacoma. In 59 big-league games, he has a .237 batting average with five home runs and 12 RBIs.

Washington has also agreed to terms on 2007 contracts with outfielder Tony Blanco and Frank Diaz, first baseman Larry Broadway, second baseman Bernie Castro, catcher Jesus Flores and pitchers Brett Campbell, Matt Chico, Shawn Hill, Mike O'Connor, Beltran Perez, Levale Speigner and Jermaine Van Buren.

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