Wednesday, January 11, 2006

National sign Tucker and Ayala

Free agent outfielder Michael Tucker agreed Monday to a one-year contract with the Washington Nationals, who also gave a $2.2 million, two-year contract with reliever Luis Ayala.

Tucker is a career .257 hitter during 11 seasons with Kansas City, Atlanta, Cincinnati, the
Chicago Cubs, San Francisco and Philadelphia. He was traded late last season from the Giants to the Phillies and wound up with a combined .239 average with five homers and 36 RBIs in 268 at-bats.

Ayala, who had been eligible for arbitration, is 24-22 with a 2.75 ERA in three seasons with the Expos/Nationals. He was 8-7 with a 2.66 ERA in 68 appearances last year as the primary setup man before an elbow injury ended his season. He had surgery in October to remove an elbow bone spur.

He gets $900,000 this year and $1.3 million next year.

The Nationals get some MUCH needed offense and are putting together a pretty good team. Keep in mind that just a couple of weeks ago, the National signed second baseman Alfonso Soriano to help boost their offense.


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