- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 20, 2010

WASHINGTON | Outfielder Josh Willingham agreed to a $4.6 million contract for 2010 with the Washington Nationals, who also avoided arbitration with three other players.

Catchers Jesus Flores and Wil Nieves and right-hander Jason Bergmann agreed to one-year deals with Washington on Tuesday, the day players and teams submitted figures for arbitration.

Flores and Bergmann got salaries of $750,000 for next season, while Nieves agreed to a $700,000 deal. Their 2009 salaries ranged from $415,500 to $445,000 in 2009.

Flores, expected to split time at catcher with free-agent signee Ivan Rodriguez, can earn bonuses of $10,000 for 70 games played, $15,000 for 80, and $25,000 for 90. Flores hit .301 in only 93 at-bats in 2009, when he missed time after being hit by a foul ball, then needed shoulder surgery.

Willingham hit .260 with 24 homers and 61 RBIs in 427 at-bats last season, his first after being traded to Washington by the Florida Marlins. He earned $2.95 million after agreeing to a contract right before an arbitration hearing.

Tuesday’s deals leave the Nationals with two arbitration-eligible players: relievers Brian Bruney and Sean Burnett.

Bruney, acquired in an offseason trade with the New York Yankees, asked for $1.85 million in arbitration, while the Nationals offered $1.5 million. He made $1.25 million last season.

Burnett asked for a raise from $408,000 to $925,000. The Nationals offered $775,000.

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