Willingham ready for arbitration hearing
Outfielder's resolution to come Wednesday; Zimmerman's Friday
VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals outfielder Josh Willingham is scheduled to have his arbitration hearing on Wednesday. He reported to Nationals camp on Monday and flew to Arizona the next day.
Willingham, who came over from Florida with left-hander Scott Olsen in a trade that sent Emilio Bonifacio to the Marlins, is asking for $3.6 million, while the team has countered with $2.55 million.
Back problems forced Willingham to play in only 102 games last season, when he hit .254 with 15 homers and 54 RBIs.
As for third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, his arbitration hearing is scheduled for Friday. He is asking for $3.9 million, while Washington is countering with $2.75 million.
Zimmerman is coming off an injury-riddled season, playing in only 106 games because of left shoulder and right hand injuries. He hit .283 with 14 home runs and 51 RBIs.
Zimmerman and the Nationals have been trying to work out a multiyear deal since last Spring Training.
During that period, Washington vowed not to spend excessively, but the club was willing to give Zimmerman a contract similar to that of Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who signed a six-year, $31 million deal in January 2008, but there was an indication that Zimmerman wanted a larger contract.
Zimmerman's contract was renewed, and he made $465,000 in '08. He said recently that he doesn't have any hard feelings toward the Nationals.
"It's part of the game, it's a business," Zimmerman said at NatsFest last month. "There are no hard feelings in any way. The relationship that we have had with the front office has been nothing but positive the whole time I've been here. That's the way it's always going to be."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.