Willingham, Nationals agree to 1-year deal

Updated: February 18, 2009, 9:44 PM ET
Associated Press

VIERA, Fla. -- Outfielder Josh Willingham and the Washington Nationals agreed to a $2.95 million contract for 2009, avoiding an arbitration hearing scheduled for Wednesday.

Willingham, who made $405,000 last season, had submitted an arbitration figure of $3.6 million. The Nationals had countered with $2.55 million.

His new one-year deal calls for performance bonuses of $25,000 each for 525, 550, 575 and 600 plate appearances.

The Nationals still have one more player scheduled for arbitration, third baseman Ryan Zimmerman.

Willingham hit .254 with 15 homers and 51 RBIs last season for Florida, which traded him to Washington with left-hander Scott Olsen in a deal that sent infielder Emilio Bonifacio to the Marlins.

Olsen avoided arbitration earlier this month when he agreed to a $2.8 million, one-year contract.

In Washington's other case, right-hander Shawn Hill won his hearing and was awarded a salary of $775,000 this season. The Nationals submitted a figure of $500,000.

Game notes
LHP Odalis Perez still has not reported to camp. "Our understanding is that he has an agreement which both MLB and the union consider binding, and we think the best course would be for him to come in and honor the agreement," Nationals president Stan Kasten said. "I've known Odie a long time. He came up with me in Atlanta, and he's had a nice career for himself. I think this would be a very ill-advised and foolish way for him to conduct the next part of his career." Perez's deal is a non-guaranteed minor league deal that would pay $850,000 if he makes the major league roster. ... 1B Dmitri Young said he wouldn't be doing interviews with the media during spring training until the day he either makes the roster or is told he won't make the team. "Makes for a better story, right?" Young said with a smile.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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