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Nationals reportedly pick up Denard Span's $9M option for 2015

One of the first big decisions for the Washington Nationals this winter is apparently out of the way already. Two reports this afternoon say that the Nats have picked up Denard Span's $9M option for 2015. Span's coming back to D.C.

Win McNamee

One of the big questions for the Washington Nationals this winter was whether or not the Nats would pick up the option for 2015 that was included in the extension Denard Span signed with the Minnesota Twins in 2010.

Included in that 5-year/$16.5M deal was a $9M club option for the 2015 campaign or a $500K buyout.

"D-Span was a guy that I thought was a better hitter the last day of the season than he was when we first got him." -Mike Rizzo on Denard Span on 106.7 the FAN in D.C. earlier this month

In his second season in the nation's capital following the November 2012 trade that brought Span to the Nationals from the Twins, the 30-year-old leadoff man and outfielder put up a .302/.355/.416 line with 39 doubles, eight triples, five home runs and 31 stolen bases in 147 games and 668 PAs over which he was worth +3.8 fWAR for the NL East Champs.

Nats' GM Mike Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier earlier this month that he was happy with the development he saw from Span over the course of the season and confident that the soon-to-turn 31-year-old veteran will continue to produce in the future.

"D-Span was a guy that I thought was a better hitter the last day of the season than he was when we first got him," Rizzo said. "So I see his career path as a guy that is still a very vital player and has a great skill set and what you lose with another year of age, you gain in experience and I think D-Span has been a guy who has really grown in his role as a leadoff man and defensive stalwart in the outfield and is a guy that has a lot of good years left."

At least one more year of Span's career will apparently be spent in the nation's capital, as two reports (one quoting Span directly) this afternoon now say that the Nationals have picked up his option for 2015:

The Nationals still have to make decisions on Adam LaRoche and Rafael Soriano, who both have options for the 2015 campaign as well.

UPDATE: The Nationals confirmed that they picked up Span's option on Twitter: