The Washington Nationals started the winter with 10 arbitration-eligible players on their roster. Ross Ohlendorf and Stephen Strasburg were the first two to sign with the veteran right-hander agreeing to a 1-year/$1.25M deal and the '09 no.1 overall pick signing a 1-year/$3.975M contract for 2014. A third pitcher signed on tonight, according to the Nats, who announced on Twitter that Ross Detwiler had agreed to a deal, avoiding arbitration:
The #Nats have agreed to terms with left-hander Ross Detwiler, avoiding arbitration.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) January 17, 2014
Detwiler, 27, was the Nationals' 1st Round pick in 2007. The left-hander is coming off an injury-plagued 2013 campaign which saw him miss time with an oblique injury and a separate disc issue in his back. After a breakout +1.6 fWAR season in 2012, which saw him put up a 3.40 ERA, a 4.04 FIP, 52 walks (2.85 BB/9) and 105 Ks (5.75 K/9) in 33 games, 27 starts and 164 1/3 IP in which he was (10-8), Detwiler made just 13 starts in 2013, going (2-7) with a 4.04 ERA, 3.66 FIP, 14 walks (1.77 BB/9) and 39 Ks (4.92 K/9) in 71 1/3 IP over which he was worth +0.9 fWAR.
Nats' GM Mike Rizzo talked about Detwiler today in an appearance on ESPN980's The Sports Fix, telling hosts Kevin Sheehan and Thom Loverro that heading into Spring Training, the left-hander was the front runner for the final spot in the Nationals' 2014 rotation.
"Detwiler probably leads the parade for our fifth starter position and opportunity," Rizzo said, "but Tanner Roark pitched extremely well last year. Taylor Jordan showed flashes of being an extremely successful major league pitcher. Nathan Karns threw the ball well in spurts last year in a very limited look." There will be competition, but if healthy, Detwiler at least begins the 2014 campaign as the top choice to fill out the rotation.
• Check out what Rizzo and Nats' pitching coach Steve McCatty have said about the rotation so far this winter:
No details on Detwiler's deal for 2014 were released by the Nationals. The left-hander avoided arbitration last winter when he agreed on a 1-year/$2.3375M deal on January 18th. MLBTraderumors.com's salary arbitration projections, which have proven to be fairly accurate thus far, have him getting a raise to around $2.8M this season. More info on the deal when it is available...
• Update: 10:45 PM EST - NY Post writer Joel Sherman is reporting that it's a 1-year/$3M deal:
#Nationals avoid arbitration with Ross Detwiler. He gets $3M. $50G bonus if reaches 180IP— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) January 17, 2014
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