Nats to trade Vidro to Mariners
Snelling, Fruto to join Washington, pending physicals
WASHINGTON -- The Nationals are expected to trade second baseman Jose Vidro to the Mariners for outfielder Chris Snelling and pitcher Emiliano Fruto, according to Vidro and a high-ranking baseball official.Vidro has two years left on his contract, and Seattle is said to be picking up $12 million of the $16 million remaining. Pending the completion of physicals, the trade could be announced any day now. The trade was agreed upon between the two clubs on Dec. 8, but both sides needed Vidro's approval because he has a no-trade clause. After receiving the news from his agent, Seth Levinson, Vidro spoke to Mariners manager Mike Hargrove that same day on the phone, and the skipper told him that he would be a designated hitter and a backup at third, second and first base. Vidro then had a discussion with his wife, Annette, who told him to go to Seattle. Vidro then called Mariners outfielder Jose Guillen on Tuesday and informed him that he was going to approve the trade. The two played together in Washington for two years. For accepting the deal, Vidro is said to have been given a vesting option for 2009. "It was time for me to move on," Vidro said. "I know the direction the Washington Nationals wanted to go. I knew I was not going to fit there any more. It was very easy for me.
"It's more about the family adjusting to a new city and being so far from Puerto Rico. That was my biggest concern. Family comes first, and they need to be comfortable. I'm glad that everything worked out with my family."I'm also glad that I have a close friend there [in Guillen], so everything else will go smoothly." The trade ends Vidro's 10-year run with the Nationals/Expos. Last year, Vidro played in 125 games and hit .289 with seven home runs and 47 RBIs -- a relative down year for the former All-Star. Vidro had a tough time driving in runs and became a singles hitter in 2006 after a career reputation as a doubles machine who drives in a lot of runs. After missing more than a month because of a left hamstring injury, Vidro returned to the club on Aug. 18, and his range at second deteriorated. He had a tough time going to his left and right. It got to a point where then-manager Frank Robinson benched Vidro a few games to give Bernie Castro a shot. Vidro ended the season as a first baseman.
Vidro said that when he was switched to first base, he knew his days were numbered in Washington."I have no regrets about anything. It was an unbelievable time," Vidro said. "I was treated fairly the whole time I was in Montreal and Washington. Management was always respectful to me. Everything worked out OK. There were no incidents with me. That says a lot." Snelling, 25, has big-league experience. He played in a combined 59 games and hit .237 with five home runs and 12 RBIs in 2006. Fruto, 22, pitched in 22 games for the Mariners and had a 5.50 ERA. Snelling and Fruto most likely will get a chance to make the Opening Day roster. The trade means one thing for the Nationals -- shortstop Felipe Lopez will be switched to second and Cristian Guzman will remain at shortstop. "The Nationals are going to be OK. They are going to do very good," Vidro said. "They have young players with unbelievable talent. If they play together and be positive, they are going to have fun with [manager] Manny Acta there."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.