Strasburg signs, avoids arbitration with Nationals

Strasburg signs, avoids arbitration with Nationals
January 10, 2014, 8:30 pm
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The Nationals and Stephen Strasburg agreed to terms Friday night on a contract for 2014, avoiding arbitration.

Strasburg was arbitration-eligible for the first time in his career, giving him the right to negotiate his salary. If the right-hander and the club couldn’t settle on terms before Tuesday’s deadline, he would have filed for arbitration and the two sides would have submitted competing offers next Friday, setting a date for a hearing in February before a three-person panel.

Thus, Strasburg and the Nationals avoided a potentially messy arbitration process by finding common ground now.

Strasburg will earn a base salary of $3.975 million this year, with performance incentives, according to a source familiar with the contract. That's only a slight raise from his $3.9 million in 2013, but the figure is based more on comparable arbitration-eligible players, not his previous salary (which was significantly higher than most comparable players because he signed a large, guaranteed deal upon getting drafted in 2009).

Strasburg will have two more seasons of arbitration-eligibility. Unless he signs a long-term extension at some point, he’ll become a free agent after the 2016 season.

With Strasburg signed, the Nationals have eight remaining unsigned arbitration-eligible players: pitchers Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister, Ross Detwiler, Tyler Clippard, Drew Storen and Jerry Blevins, shortstop Ian Desmond and catcher Wilson Ramos.