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Washington Nationals, Michael Taylor settle at $2.525 million to avoid arbitration

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The Washington Nationals gave their starting centerfielder a substantial raise after an impressive 2017 season.

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Washington Nationals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Nationals and outfielder Michael Taylor have agreed to a $2.525 million salary for next season to avoid arbitration, according to Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post.

Taylor, 26, is in his first year of arbitration after breaking out in 2017 to establish himself as the Nats’ everyday centerfielder. In 118 games, Taylor hit .271/.320/.486 with 19 home runs, 17 stolen bases, 53 RBIs, 55 runs, 29 walks and 137 strikeouts.

As a league-minimum player, Taylor made just $557,900 last season. This year, he’ll see a modest uptick in income but will be a bargain for Washington if he sustains the success he had last season. Taylor still has three years of team control left on his rookie deal.

Cot’s Contracts pegs the Nationals’ payroll at $163,722,856, including the guaranteed contracts the team is locked into and an approximation of $675,000 for the nine league-minimum players on their 25-man roster.

They’ll surpass their franchise-high $164,335,444 payroll of last season once they reach an agreement with Anthony Rendon, who is the only remaining arbitration-eligible player who hasn’t publicly reached an agreement with the Nats. Tanner Roark agreed to a $6.475 million deal earlier today.

Despite Adam Eaton returning to the field in 2018, the Nationals will be sticking with Taylor in center field and Eaton will shift over to left. He was a Gold Glove finalist last season and will most likely hit behind the Nats’ fearsome group of Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon, Daniel Murphy and Ryan Zimmerman.

An update on Rendon’s status will be posted when information becomes available...