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Strasburg signs for $3.975 million, avoids arbitration

Jan 10, 2014, 8:34 PM EDT

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The Nationals and Stephen Strasburg agreed to terms Friday night on a $3.975 million 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.

  1. scnatsfan - Jan 10, 2014 at 9:34 PM

    Hard to believe he makes less than 4M

  2. David Proctor - Jan 10, 2014 at 9:49 PM

    MLBTR predicted he’d get 3.9M so they were pretty much right on.

  3. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 11, 2014 at 8:04 AM

    A Cy Young and that will shoot up to $10+ next season hopefully. :)

    by the way, Gio is still my pick for Nats’ first no-hitter.

    • Theophilus T.S. - Jan 11, 2014 at 9:37 AM

      Only if the game is called after six innings because of rain. Although, if that is the benchmark, Strasburg might have a chance at it, too.

      • David Proctor - Jan 11, 2014 at 9:39 AM

        I realize you’re not serious, but Gio DID pitch two one-hitters last year.

  4. sjm308 - Jan 11, 2014 at 8:15 AM

    Mark: Does Rizzo do each of these arbitration contracts by himself or does he have someone else in charge of the financial side of things? I realize there are scouts and other personnel in the front office but I wonder if its just Rizzo and the player and his agent working these deals out. Does Rizzo go to the Lerners and give them a ballpark figure and then go to the agent with that figure or does the agent suggest an amount and Rizzo take that back to the owner.

    No matter, very happy this happened with as little drama as possible. Didn’t JZmmnn wait until almost the last minute last year? I can’t remember the last National to actually go into arbitration & I am guessing all these players will settle in the next few weeks.

    Go Nats!!

    • originalnatsfan - Jan 11, 2014 at 8:21 AM

      wasn’t it Lannon? If my memory serves me. which it doesn’t always do.

    • Faraz Shaikh - Jan 11, 2014 at 8:41 AM

      I could be wrong but they might have waited also to work out an extension first.

      • natsjackinfl - Jan 11, 2014 at 9:15 AM

        Yes, It was Zimmermann that went to the last minute before an agreement was reached. Lannan was with the Phillies last year. But the year before he did lose his arbitration hearing but still got $4 Mil to pitch in Syracuse

      • David Proctor - Jan 11, 2014 at 9:41 AM

        I think Rizzo may be trying to get the “easy” arb cases out of the way so that he has time to devote toward Desi/JZimm. Although I suspect they’ll reach an arb agreement for 2014 and then continue to discuss after that.

    • Mark Zuckerman - Jan 11, 2014 at 9:21 AM

      Rizzo is the point man for negotiations, but he has several front office execs working with him, including a few whose job is to crunch the numbers on salaries and know how much certain players should be offered based on experience and performance.

      • Sonny G 10 - Jan 11, 2014 at 9:54 AM

        Thanks Mark for the answer and thanks 308 for the question.

      • sjm308 - Jan 11, 2014 at 10:08 AM

        Thanks Mark.
        In my job as faux gm I don’t worry about salaries, I just spend my owners money like there is no tomorrow.
        Rizzo might have a tougher job.

  5. Theophilus T.S. - Jan 11, 2014 at 9:40 AM

    I share the surprise that they (Strasburg and Boras) agreed to only $3.9MM. This has something of the vibe around Zimmerman’s extension — not that a long term deal is in the works but maybe a deal that buys out the last two years of arbitration.

    • tcostant - Jan 11, 2014 at 2:41 PM

      I was surprised too. They could have asked for $5M when figures were exchanged and settled at the midway point. A little shocked. What you made last year, does matter as Super 2 guys always get more in the remaining years because of the higher starting point/

  6. Theophilus T.S. - Jan 11, 2014 at 9:42 AM

    I will continue to snipe at both Strasburg and Gonzalez until they demonstrate they can consistently go seven innings plus.

    • David Proctor - Jan 11, 2014 at 9:57 AM

      Of Strasburg’s 30 starts last year, he went at least 7 innings 16 times. However, he had 2 games that were shortened by rain delay, the game he was ejected and a game shortened for injury. So excluding those, he went 7 innings 16/26 times or 62% of the time. JZimm did it 19 times in 32 starts, or 59% of the time. I’d bet you wouldn’t believe that Strasburg went 7 innings a greater percentage of the time than JZimm. Although the difference is that JZimm regularly went 8 and sometimes went 9.

      Gio also did it 16 times or 50% of the time. So you have a point that he’s not going particularly deep into games, although Gio consistently pitches 200 innings or close to it, so it’s hard to complain too much. Interestingly, Gio had a stretch from June 14 to July 10 where he went 7 innings in 6 straight starts. He had a 1.98 ERA during that time and won 4 in a row.

      • Theophilus T.S. - Jan 11, 2014 at 10:44 AM

        Unless I’m mistaken, Gonzalez has never pitched 200 innings.

      • David Proctor - Jan 11, 2014 at 10:51 AM

        He pitched 200 innings in 2010, 202 innings in 2011, 199.1 innings in 2012 and 195.2 innings in 2013 (would’ve likely had 200 if he had gotten his last start of the year, but Davey gave it to Roark).

      • Section 222 - Jan 11, 2014 at 11:14 AM

        I made the same points about Stras in response to Theo’s assertion yesterday that Giolito has a better shot at the HoF than Stras. It doesn’t seem like he’s interested in numbers. He’s formed this opinion that Stras is an underachiever and will not budge from it until he wins a Cy Young.

  7. Theophilus T.S. - Jan 11, 2014 at 9:52 AM

    I have yet to see anyone explain what the “bonus” arrangement is.

    • David Proctor - Jan 11, 2014 at 9:59 AM

      Strasburg can earn an extra 125K if he pitches a certain number of innings, per Kilgore. Maxes out at 4.1M. That’s pretty typical for the first time through arbitration though, not sure why everyone is acting so surprised.

    • Jw - Jan 11, 2014 at 10:16 AM

      He probably gets a few grand if he actually posts at NatsFest, and a few grand more if he doesn’t duck out early.

  8. Sonny G 10 - Jan 11, 2014 at 9:58 AM

    I’m kinda surprised Stras has signed with no apparent muss. Sounds like a good omen to me.

  9. Section 222 - Jan 11, 2014 at 11:10 AM

    Denard Span makes #10 on Bill James’ Top 10 CF Right Now list. He leaves off Bourn, Fowler, and Kemp. Span not seen on Brian Kenny’s list or that of “The Shredder.” There’s about 2.5 seconds of discussion of him.

  10. Eugene in Oregon - Jan 11, 2014 at 11:26 AM

    Just speculating here, but the only arbitration candidate I could imagine the Nats not reaching a pre-hearing agreement with is Ross Detwiler. I could see that negotiation turning into a John Lannan-type situation, where the player (and his agent) set a higher value on his worth than the club does. If that happens, it could also be quite telling about the club’s plans/expectations for Mr. Detwiler (i.e., starter vs. bullpen).

  11. David Proctor - Jan 11, 2014 at 11:48 AM

    Alex Rodriguez suspended 162 games

    • Jw - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:07 PM

      He’ll be back for the playoffs!

      • Section 222 - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:33 PM

        Actually, the suspension covers all post season games.

    • originalnatsfan - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:21 PM

      sorry it wasn’t longer

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