Report: M's, Nats have tentative deal on Vidro trade

WASHINGTON -- Second baseman Jose Vidro would be sent to the Seattle Mariners by the Washington Nationals for two prospects in a tentative trade that is pending physicals for all players involved, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Wednesday night.

It is believed the Nationals would receive outfielder Chris Snelling and right-hander Emiliano Fruto. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the trade had not been completed.

Spokesmen for Seattle and Washington declined comment, and Nationals president Stan Kasten wrote in an e-mail: "I'm never able to comment on deals until after they've been consummated."

In a telephone interview with The Washington Post, posted on its Web site Wednesday night, Vidro spoke about the trade.

"I'm really looking forward to the opportunity to go to the American League and play for a team that has a pretty good shot," he said. "They have a legitimate lineup, and they're going to sign some pitchers. It's looking very good."

Vidro -- the longest-tenured current member of the Expos-Nationals franchise -- is a three-time All-Star who has been slowed by leg injuries the past two seasons. He hit .289 with seven homers, 26 doubles and 47 RBI last season, when he missed 36 games.

He's a career .301 hitter with 115 homers, 304 doubles and 550 RBI in 10 seasons, all with the same club.

His acquisition raises questions about what the Mariners plan to do with their infield. Seattle already has a young All-Star second baseman in Jose Lopez, who could be switched to third if the Mariners move Adrian Beltre.

Vidro also could fill a need at designated hitter for Seattle. Ben Broussard, a left-handed bat acquired in a trade with Cleveland last year to be the Mariners' DH, hit just .230 against right-handed pitching and just .238 overall after the trade.

Vidro is due to receive $16 million over the next two seasons, and trading him would fit with the Nationals' stated plan to get younger and add prospects. It also clears up a logjam in the middle infield for Washington, which finished last in the NL East the past three seasons.

According to the person familiar with the deal, the Mariners have agreed to add a vesting option for 2009 to Vidro's contract. If the option doesn't become guaranteed, Vidro would get a $500,000 payment.

Snelling once was considered a top prospect but tore a left knee ligament in 2001 and 2005 and also missed the entire 2004 season with right wrist and hand injuries. He hit .250 in 36 games with Seattle in 2006.

Fruto made his major league debut last season, going 2-2 with a 5.50 ERA in 23 appearances. The 22-year-old right-hander struck out 34 batters in 36 innings.

At Triple-A Tacoma last season, he struck out 55 in 45 1/3 innings and had 10 saves.