Nats looking to lock up Pena

Nats looking to lock up Pena

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Nationals continue to be active at the Winter Meetings. It was revealed on Wednesday night that they are trying to sign outfielder Wily Mo Pena to an extension. It would mean that Pena would avoid arbitration.

An ESPN blog reported that Pena reached a preliminary agreement on a two-year, $7 million deal, but a baseball official said that the two parties did not agree to terms and that they are still in negotiations. Pena and general manager Jim Bowden were not available for comment.

Pena was impressive after the Nationals acquired his services last August. He hit .293 with eight home runs and 23 RBIs. Even more impressive was Pena's penchant to hit to the opposite field on a consistent basis. It was hitting coach Lenny Harris who insisted that Pena stop pulling the ball. Pena also wants to show that he can hit breaking balls on a consistent basis.

"I want to keep working hard hitting the other way," Pena said last October. "Lenny was on me every day. Every time we went into the cage or I played the game, he would just talk to me. When I hit the other way, he was so happy and so proud."

Pena is expected to be the everyday left fielder for the Nationals in 2008.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.