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Cordero Wins in Arbitration

By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 22, 2007

VIERA, Fla., Feb. 21 -- By the time Chad Cordero landed Wednesday at the Orlando airport -- a trip to Phoenix and a 3 1/2 -hour delay in Detroit behind him -- he had a message on his cellphone with the news: He beat the Washington Nationals in his arbitration case, a victory that will earn him $500,000 more than the team was offering.

Cordero's salary of $4.15 million is almost eight times what he made a year ago, $525,000, before he was eligible for arbitration. The club submitted a figure of $3.65 million, and the case was heard before a three-member panel Tuesday in Phoenix.

"It was good to see that side of the game, the business side," Cordero said. "It wasn't as bad as I thought. I was expecting to go in there and have them all tear me down, and it wasn't like that. I was kind of surprised."

Cordero echoed the sentiments of right-hander John Patterson -- who lost his case to the Nationals last week -- saying that General Manager Jim Bowden handled the hearing professionally. Cordero said the Nationals argued from last year's statistics -- when he saved 29 games in 33 chances and posted a career-high 3.19 ERA -- and his side took a look at his career, in which he has 91 saves with an ERA of 2.61, including a stellar 2005 in which he led the majors with 47 saves.

"We don't want any hard feelings," Bowden said. "It's big business, though, for both sides, and we both have to deal with ramifications of the process."

It's likely Cordero will continue to be targeted by clubs who enter spring training without a closer, namely Boston. But one Nationals official said Wednesday he didn't expect Cordero to be traded, adding that the club hasn't wavered on its asking price -- young, high-end starting pitching.

Holliday in the Booth

Johnny Holliday, in his 28th season as the voice of the Maryland Terrapins, will join former major leaguer Ray Knight as the host of "Nats Xtra" pre- and postgame shows on the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, the network said yesterday. Game broadcasts also will include Debbi Taylor as a sideline reporter, joining play-by-play man Bob Carpenter and new color man Don Sutton. . . .

The club is holding two days of meetings with all its scouts before they are dispersed around the country, both in Arizona and Florida for spring training and to see amateurs as the teams prepare for the draft. "We have enough people to see everyone now," scouting director Dana Brown said. . . .

The club signed a one-year working agreement with the Tabasco Olmecas of the Mexican summer league. The Nationals will have access to information from the Tabasco club's scouts and perhaps be better equipped to identify Mexican talent.

Payday Is Coming3B Ryan Zimmerman is the only unsigned National, though he is under club control. Both Zimmerman and GM Jim Bowden said there is no concern, and a deal should be forthcoming.

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