Source: Nats agree to terms with Lo Duca
The Washington Nationals have agreed to terms on a one-year contract with free agent catcher Paul Lo Duca, a source with knowledge of the situation said today. Terms were not immediately available, though Lo Duca was thought to be seeking $5 million. The deal is pending Lo Duca passing a physical, a source said.
Lo Duca, 35, played the past two seasons with the New York Mets. A .288 career hitter and four-time all-star, he played previously for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Florida Marlins.
Nationals officials said they had no announcement on the deal scheduled for today. General Manager Jim Bowden did not return a message.
Lo Duca, who the Mets decided not to bring back, was involved in discussions with the Nationals and the Toronto Blue Jays at last week's winter meetings. After trading starter Brian Schneider to the Mets in a package that brought Lastings Milledge to Washington, the Nationals are in need of a veteran catcher to help tutor Jesus Flores - who they believe will be their top catcher in the future - for 2008.
Lo Duca hit .272 with a .311 on-base percentage and .378 slugging percentage in 119 games for the Mets last season. A right-handed hitter, he wouldn't be part of a straight platoon with the right-handed hitting Flores, but he would allow Manager Manny Acta to bring Flores along slowly, if necessary. Lo Duca has played at least 119 games in each of the last seven seasons.
The signing of a catcher could bring to a close the Nationals' major moves of what has already been a busy offseason.
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