Nats' Escobar avoids arbitration

Nats' Escobar avoids arbitration

WASHINGTON -- Nationals outfielder Alex Escobar avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $530,000 contract on Wednesday evening. Escobar sought $590,000, while Washington countered with an offer of $500,000.

The right-handed-hitting Escobar had an injury-plagued season in 2006, but he managed to hit .356 with four home runs and 18 RBIs in 33 games.

Escobar will be one of four players -- Kory Casto, Ryan Church and Chris Snelling are the others -- in competition for the left-field job in Spring Training.

The Escobar signing leaves right-handers John Patterson and Chad Cordero and outfielder Austin Kearns as the Nationals' remaining arbitration-eligible players.

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