King gets minor-league deal from Nats

Updated: December 18, 2006, 6:16 PM ET
By Jerry Crasnick | ESPN.com

Left-handed reliever Ray King has reached agreement on a minor-league contract with the Washington Nationals with an invitation to big-league camp. He will earn a base salary of $850,000 if he makes the Nationals' Opening Day roster.

King, 31, has a career 19-22 record with a 3.28 ERA in 514 games out of the bullpen for the Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee, Atlanta, St. Louis and Colorado.

King said signing with the Nationals appealed to him because of the prospect of a heavier workload as the team's main lefty specialist. He averaged 80 appearances a season from 2001-2005 before pitching in only 67 games for the Rockies last year.

"It's a good opportunity, going to pitch in that big ballpark,'' King said. "A couple of teams kept saying, 'We'll get back to you in a week.' But waiting isn't always better. Hopefully I can go to spring training and get back in the situation where I know I should be.''

Jerry Crasnick covers Major League Baseball for ESPN Insider.

Jerry Crasnick | email

ESPN.com MLB Sr. Writer