Nats add Boone, avoid arbitration with Pena, Langerhans

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Backup infielder Aaron Boone agreed to a
one-year, $1 million contract Thursday with the Washington
Nationals, who also avoided arbitration with outfielders Wily Mo
Pena and Ryan Langerhans.

Pena agreed to a deal that would pay him $4 million over two
years if he picks up a mutual option for 2009, or $7 million if the
team exercises its option. Langerhans would earn $500,000 if he's
in the majors next season and $300,000 in the minors.

The 34-year-old Boone gives the Nationals an experienced backup
at first, second and third base and a clubhouse leader who could
help mentor the team's young players.

"That's very important for the leadership of our club,"
manager Manny Acta said before leaving the winter meetings at the
Opryland Hotel.

Boone is a career .265 hitter with 120 home runs, 527 RBIs and
107 stolen bases over 10 seasons. He was an NL All-Star with
Cincinnati in 2003, when he batted a combined .267 with 24 home
runs, 96 RBIs and 23 stolen bases for the Reds and Yankees.

Boone's 11th-inning homer against Boston in Game 7 won the 2003
AL Championship Series for New York. But the next winter he blew
out his left knee playing basketball and missed the entire '04

He spent two years with Cleveland and this season hit .286 with
five homers and 28 RBIs in 69 games for the Florida Marlins before
going on the disabled list June 25 and having season-ending
arthroscopic surgery on the same knee.

"The reports we have is that he's 100 percent back from his
knee surgery," Acta said.

Pena batted .293 with eight homers and 22 RBIs in 37 games for
Washington after joining the team in an Aug. 17 trade with the Red
Sox. The Nationals averaged 3.9 runs per game before he arrived and
5 per game afterward.

"I don't think we had anybody intimidating in our lineup"
before Pena was acquired, Acta said.

Langerhans, 27, combined for six home runs and 23 RBIs in 125
big league games with Washington, Oakland and Atlanta this season.