Stephen Strasburg And Nationals Avoid Arbitration
On January 10 the Washington Nationals made another quiet, yet albeit important offseason move by avoiding arbitration with ace right-handed pitcher Stephen Strasburg. The deal is for one-year and will be worth $3.975 million; just slightly more than the $3.9 million he made last season while going 8-9 with an impressive 3.00 ERA. There are also up to $125,000 worth of performance bonuses on the table for Strasburg making the deal potentially worth roughly $4.1 million. Strasburg, who is famously represented by super-agent Scott Boras, will be eligible for free agency in 2016.
— MLB (@MLB) January 11, 2014
While this was somewhat of a mere formality for both sides, the Nationals ability to put yet another minor issue to rest heading into spring training was not something to ignore. With the signing of 25-year-old ace Strasburg only days after the negotiation process began, GM Mike Rizzo and the Washington Nationals were able to avoid any prolonged arbitration hearings like what happened with fellow starting pitcher Jordan Zimmerman last winter.
Now entering his fourth season with the Nationals, Stephen Strasburg has posted the third highest strikeout rate in Major League Baseball since the beginning of 2012 behind only Yu Darvish and Max Scherzer. If he continues to make the strides most experts expect him to in 2014, he will undoubtedly make his remaining two years of arbitration and will ultimately put pressure on the Nationals in terms of figuring out some type of long-term extension.
This move is but a tiny ripple in the pond of the Washington Nationals successful offseason; which included the additions of starting pitcher Doug Fister, fourth outfielder Nate McLouth, and left-handed reliever Jerry Blevins. In recent days the Nationals have also added some infield depth by inviting both Jamey Carroll and Mike Fontenot to minor league deals with spring training invites. This, of course, leaves a remaining question mark on the head of one-time MLB second basemen Danny Espinosa.