Dec 3, 2010, 5:17 AM EST
The Nationals elected not to tender 2011 contracts to pitchers Chien-Ming Wang, Joel Peralta and catcher Wil Nieves before tonight's deadline, instantly making all three players free agents. They did, however, come to terms on one-year contracts with Jesus Flores and Alberto Gonzalez, avoiding arbitration with each player.
All major league clubs were required to tender contracts to their arbitration-eligible players before midnight, moves that essentially confirm those players will return next season.
The Nationals tendered contracts to their five other arbitration-eligible players: outfielders Josh Willingham and Michael Morse and pitchers John Lannan, Sean Burnett and Doug Slaten. The two sides have until January 18 to either come to terms on their own or exchange arbitration figures to an independent panel that will rule on their cases in February.
Despite being cut loose by the Nationals tonight, both Wang and Nieves could return on smaller, non-guaranteed contracts. Had they gone to arbitration, Wang would have been assured of making at least $1.6 million in 2011, with Nieves assured of making at least
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