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Nationals exercise option on Span

WASHINGTON -- As expected, the Nationals picked up Denard Span's $9 million option on Thursday afternoon.

Span said general manager Mike Rizzo called to inform him that he would be back with the team in 2015. Had the Nats declined the option, Span would have been given a buyout worth $500,000.

"I'll be back," Span said by telephone. "I'm very excited. I told Mike I'm excited to be coming back another year. I'm looking forward to working with the coaching staff and getting back with the guys and go on another run."

Span is one of the reasons that Washington won its second National League East title in three years. In addition to being one of the best defensive center fielders in baseball -- he's a finalist to win his first Gold Glove Award this year -- Span has been one of the game's top leadoff hitters. He was among the NL leaders in multihit games, hits, doubles and stolen bases.

"Denard was arguably our most consistent offensive player in 2014, keying so much of our offensive production, and his defense in center field is Gold Glove-caliber on a nightly basis," Rizzo said to the Curly W blog. "We're excited to keep him in the fold for the 2015 season."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashinNats.
Read More: Washington Nationals, Denard Span