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Detwiler signs for $3 million, avoids arbitration

Jan 16, 2014, 10:42 PM EST

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Ross Detwiler and the Nationals came to terms on a 2014 contract Thursday night, avoiding arbitration only 24 hours before they would have been required to submit competing salary figures.

Detwiler will earn $3 million this season, a modest raise from his 2013 salary of $2.3375 million, according to sources familiar with the contract. The deal includes a $50,000 performance bonus if he pitches at least 180 innings.

Detwiler would have been in line for an even bigger raise in his second year of arbitration-eligibility, but a lingering back injury derailed his season and limited him to only 13 starts. The left-hander wound up going 2-7 with a 4.04 ERA, making his final start of the year on July 3.

Detwiler was one of eight Nationals players who filed for arbitration on Tuesday. His new deal leaves seven others who must either come to terms by Friday evening or else submit dueling salary figures with the Nationals to Major League Baseball: Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister, Ian Desmond, Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard, Jerry Blevins and Wilson Ramos.

  1. David Proctor - Jan 16, 2014 at 10:48 PM

    Joel Sherman reporting he got $3M with a 50K incentive if he pitches 180 innings.

  2. sjm308 - Jan 16, 2014 at 11:00 PM

    Not sure who it was but we had one regular on here who thought Det would be the one guy who would not get an offer. Glad he is done but seven more in 24 hours seems a bit difficult. I do remember thought that even after both sides submit figures, they can still work out a deal before going to the arbitrator. I am guessing they have all been given an offer and its up to the player and agent to agree or send it to arbitration. Hoping there is lots of good news when I hit this site tomorrow morning. I am not a fan of arbitration. It pits the player vs. management and I just don’t think its a great way to enter the season no matter who wins.

    Go Nats!!

    • David Proctor - Jan 16, 2014 at 11:18 PM

      Many deals will be done after tomorrow and before arbitration. No big rush.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Jan 17, 2014 at 12:05 AM


      I think you may be refering to a post I made. My point wasn’t that Ross Detwiler wouldn’t get an offer (he had to get one, I believe) but rather that the offer might prove quite telling (i.e., it might shed some light into the notion that the Nats see Mr. Detwiler more as a reliever than a starter). Moreover, I wondered if this might be the one case that actually went to arbitration, particular if the Nats did make a non-starters offer. Clearly, there doesn’t seem to be an issue. Although part of that may be that Mr. Detwiler still isn’t making enough money for the starter/non-starter differential to make a difference. I now expect all of the other cases to reach a solution, although maybe not all of them by tomorrow afternoon.

    • Jw - Jan 17, 2014 at 8:37 AM

      I have predicted that Detwiler would be non-tendered or lose his arb hearing or get Pattersoned in spring training. He has squeaked past the first two of those, but for him to avoid Pattersoning will require actual on- field performance. We’ll see. I still say his best case scenario is bullpen.

  3. sjm308 - Jan 16, 2014 at 11:49 PM

    David, you are right but I still am not a fan of arbitration, or at least not when it actually gets to an arbitrator. I do understand that its a positive for the players in that they have an unbiased judge concerning salary demands. Just not crazy about a system where two parties can’t work things out. I also realize that a very small % go to arbitration in the last few year. But again, just not a fan.

    Happy for Detwiler.

    Go Nats

    • Eugene in Oregon - Jan 17, 2014 at 12:13 AM

      In a theoretical sense, the current arbitration system is designed to encourage the parties to work out a deal. By requiring the arbitration panel to pick one of the two alternative proposals — the panel can’t ‘split the difference’ or otherwise monkey with the two numbers — it creates a very strong incentive for both sides to move toward some notion of the ‘real’ value of the player. And that increases the likelihood that they will actually agree. George Shultz, back when he was a labor economist at the Univ. of Chicago, helped develop the concept for use in labor-management disputes and it was subsequently adopted by baseball. I think it’s a great way to handle things and I’ve used it in other situations (e.g., disputes over how to allot staff between two offices).

      • sjm308 - Jan 17, 2014 at 7:34 AM

        Thanks Mr. Oregon for a better explanation. I guess what I don’t like and I admit, it’s rare lately is when they do go to arbitration.

  4. NatsLady - Jan 16, 2014 at 11:49 PM

    I always wonder about these performance bonuses (although $50K isn’t much). Is Detwiler not keeping himself in shape and thus getting injured? Is it an incentive to work harder, or a token of appreciation?

    • zmunchkin - Jan 17, 2014 at 7:52 AM

      Such incentives are rarely about keeping players in shape or motivated. They are typically included to bridge the differences between two opinions. For example:

      Rizzo: I can’t justify X for a player who was injured last year. I think Y is more reasonable.

      Det’s Agent: But you shouldn’t assume he will be injured again. You are paying him for this year, not last year.

      RizzoSince we don’t know how many innings he will pitch in 2014, how about we throw in an extra Z on top of Y if he pitches 190 innings this year.

      Det’s Agent: OK. But lets make it 180 innings and Z + a little more.

      and they haggle until they agree.

      • NatsLady - Jan 17, 2014 at 10:10 AM

        Yeah, that makes sense.

  5. veejh - Jan 17, 2014 at 1:53 AM

    Who cares? Detwiler is half way out the door with all the young talent coming up. He’s nothing more than a long reliever at this point. Unless he somehow comes up with another pitch other than a fastball, he isn’t worth jack diddly. Meh.

    • veejh - Jan 17, 2014 at 1:55 AM

      They shouldn’t have given him that extra money. Fight it in arbitration.

    • David Proctor - Jan 17, 2014 at 2:13 AM

      He had a 2.79 ERA before hurting his back…he had a 3.40 ERA in 2012. He has a career ERA under 4. He’s being paid like a decent reliever this year. What in the world are you complaining about?

      • Joe Seamhead - Jan 17, 2014 at 8:12 AM

        I think that Ross is still very much worth keeping, at this point. His performance in 2012 when Strasburg was shut down was impressive and showed what he is capable of. Mainly needs to find a way to stay healthy. That boy needs to eat some tacos, nachos, with some margaritas or something. He’s a stickman.
        Go Nats!

      • Faraz Shaikh - Jan 17, 2014 at 10:27 AM

        Even as a LOOGY, he is earning less than what some got as free agents. No complaints here. Nats also beat RD’s projected arbitration salary ($3.6MM).

  6. scnatsfan - Jan 17, 2014 at 8:23 AM

    50 K bonus on 3M boy that’s an incentive… to pay his bar tab

  7. Theophilus T.S. - Jan 17, 2014 at 9:12 AM

    Chronology of Detweiler’s career: (1) signs w/ Nats; (2) Nats’ brass decide his unconventional motion portends nothing but injury, teach him new motion; (3) Detweiler can’t adapt, disappoints in minor leagues; (4) Nats give up, let him go back to the motion that got him thru college; (5) Detweiler gets injured; (6) Detweiler recovers, has stellar 2012 season; (7) Detweiler gets injured.

    The question isn’t whether Detweiler is a starter — 6-7 innings every five days — or a reliever — up and down in the BP every day, every other day, sometimes appearing two-three days in a row — but whether he can stay healthy under any conditions. When he’s healthy his record shows he’s a capable starter. As a LH, he’s more valuable as a starter. As a reliever, his innings/appearances have to be managed almost as if he was a starter. Unless you think Jordan or Roark is the next Jose Hernandez, you start Detweiler until he hurts himself.

    • Faraz Shaikh - Jan 17, 2014 at 10:31 AM

      Why do we care if Roark is an astronaut? We are not shooting for the moon, just world series.

      Jokes aside, I will let spring training dictate who becomes our #5. RD in the bullpen/spot starter can be very valuable as well. Taylor can go to AAA and get some more experience. If Roark does struggle, we have two options to back him up.

      • letswin3 - Jan 17, 2014 at 2:37 PM


  8. micksback1 - Jan 17, 2014 at 10:40 AM

    last year at this time, I thought Ross was actually going to be the ace of the staff, 23 wins plus. If this young man can get in better condition, not cardiovascular, but in terms of durability and strength, he could be an ace. I am hoping it is simply a situation of him having to still grow into his body. this is where John Philbin needs to focus as the team’s conditioning coach. some individuals still are growing up until age 27. I know many think Ross’ role is that of a reliever, that still may be true, BUT, if he is struggling with always being injured, it won’t matter if he is a starter or a reliever. this is something Ross has to really focus on

  9. Section 222 - Jan 17, 2014 at 10:40 AM

    Seems to me the 50K performance bonus is so low that they have not yet decided to move Det to the pen. He’ll get a shot at the #5 starter slot, and if he pitches as well as the competition he will win it. Then we’ll see how long he holds up.

  10. unkyd59 - Jan 17, 2014 at 11:11 AM

    JZ signed… 2 years, $24 million…. Plenty of time to talk about long term, now…..

  11. scbilly - Jan 17, 2014 at 11:22 AM

    A 25%+ raise of $660+K is modest? Even by baseball economics that doesn’t sound right.





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