January 10 is the deadline for arbitration players to reach an agreement on new salaries with their team. How did the Nats and their players fare?
Washington has come to terms with all six players who were arbitration eligible. Here is everyone who received a new contract.
Hunter Strickland and the Nats agreed to a one year deal worth 1.6 million on December 2. Strickland who was acquired from the Seattle Mariners at the traded deadline had a down year due to injuries. He struggled to the tune of a 5.55 ERA in 24.1 innings. Now that he is healthy, expect Strickland to look more like his old self. He has a career ERA of 3.16.
Utility infielder Wilmer Difo and the Nats came to terms on a one year deal on December 1 worth one million. The 27 year old was a fixture in the Nationals lineup in 2017 and 2018, but has seen his playing time diminish. Expect him to vie for one of the bench spots for 2020.
Joe Ross agreed to terms with the team on a one year deal worth 1.5 million. Robert Murray tweeted out the details.
Ross missed most of 2017 and all of 2018 when he underwent Tommy John surgery. The 27 year old had his ups and downs in his return season. He went 4-4 with a 5.48 ERA, and 57 strikeouts. However, Ross showed flashes of his old self especially in the month of August. In five starts in August, Ross went 3-0, with a ERA of 1.05, and 16 strikeouts. With an entire off season to build up his strength, Ross will have a good chance at being the teams fifth starter.
Similar to Strickland, Roenis Elias was acquired at the trade deadline in a separate trade with the Mariners. Robert Murray also tweeted out the details for the agreement.
Elias also battled injuries with the Nats and this showed in his performance. In four games with the Nats, Elias had a 9.00 ERA and was 0/1 in save opportunities. The 31 year old has a career ERA of 3.97 and should benefit from the off-season to recover. He will start the season as one of the teams middle relievers.
Michael A. Taylor (MAT) and the Nats agreed to a one year deal worth 3.325 million. Taylor struggled in 2019 and was sent to the miners. He was called back up at the end of the year and hit .250 on the season. He made the playoff roster and was a force to be reckoned with. In 21 playoff at bats, MAT had a slash line of .333/.391/.619, with an OPS of 1.010. Taylor also became the 39th player to homer in their first World Series at bat, which he did in game two. Taylor will likely start the season as the teams fourth outfielder.
The most important signing of the bunch, Trea Turner agreed to terms with the team on a one year deal worth 7.45 million. Jesse Doughtery of the Washington Post tweeted out the details.
Turner is the spark plug of the Nationals offense and it is great to see the two sides were able to avoid arbitration. Last year the 26 year old hit .298, with 19 homers, and 57 RBI’s. He also added 35 stolen bases which was the second most in the NL. Turner broke his finger against the Mets when trying to bunt on April 2. He didn’t return till May 17 and the offense suffered because of it. Turner underwent surgery on his finger in the off-season and he should be back to 100% for 2020.