- The Washington Times - Friday, January 6, 2006

The Washington Nationals signed Jamey Carroll to a one-year, $700,000 contract last night, avoiding arbitration with the popular infielder but falling short of guaranteeing him a roster spot come April.

Carroll’s contract is non-guaranteed, so the Nationals would not be responsible for paying his salary if he doesn’t make the team out of spring training.

General manager Jim Bowden already signed free-agent infielders Marlon Anderson and Damian Jackson earlier this winter, leading to speculation that Carroll would be squeezed out of a job.

But Carroll remains one of manager Frank Robinson’s favorite players because of his work ethic and solid fundamentals, and Bowden last night said it’s possible all three infielders will make Washington’s Opening Day roster.

Carroll, who turns 32 next month, hit .251 with 22 RBI in 113 games last season and filled in extensively at second base while starter Jose Vidro battled a variety of injuries. A career .269 hitter, he was eligible for arbitration for the first time and wound up more than doubling his 2005 salary of $335,000.

The Nationals have five remaining players eligible for arbitration: catcher Brian Schneider, first baseman Nick Johnson, outfielder Marlon Byrd, reliever Luis Ayala and recently acquired Alfonso Soriano. The club has been negotiating deals with all five and hopes to avoid arbitration in each case.

Mark Zuckerman