Washington’s Nationals, and the rest of the major league teams, had until today to decide whether to tender contracts to their arbitration-eligible players or non-tender the players, who’d then become free agents.
In the Nationals’ case, six of the seven decisions were considered no-brainers by those who speculate on such things.
Third baseman Anthony Rendon, shortstop Trea Turner, starters Tanner Roark and Joe Ross, reliever Kyle Barraclough, and outfielder Michael A. Taylor were seemingly simple decisions for the Nationals.
Sammy Solis, however, in spite of his expected 2019 salary of $900,000, was an interesting case after the 30-year-old left-hander struggled in 2018, while earning $560,300, posting a 6.41 ERA, 4.92 FIP, 18 walks (4.12 BB/9), 44 Ks (10.07 K/9), and .277/.367/.490 line against in 39 1⁄3 innings pitched (.224/.337/.382 vs RHBs and a rough .329/.398/.595 vs LHBs).
Towards the end of the season, however, Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez told reporters that he hadn’t given up on the idea that the southpaw had something to contribute.
While noting that Solis would have to make adjustments, and stop falling behind hitters, the first-year skipper said he told the reliever he still believed in him.
“I told him I’m not giving up on him and he knows that,” Martinez said in late September.
“When you fall behind, 3-2,” he explained, “big league hitters, especially a guy that’s been hot, good chance he’s going to hit the ball hard somewhere. But Sammy early in the year helped us win a lot of big games, and then he kind of lost it a little bit, but I’m not going to give up on him, I’m not.”
Solis also threw a lot of innings early last season, passing his previous season-high for trips to the mound in late June when he made his 38th appearance in the first 76 games. He did acknowledge that the heavy use early played a role in his struggles, though the Nats didn’t have options for a while because of injuries.
“We started the year with four lefties in the pen including [closer Sean] Doolittle,” Solis said in mid-June, “... and then we got down to just me and Doolittle for a while, which made it tough because I had to pick up the slack, cause obviously he’s set in his role and he’s not going anywhere.”
Neither is Solis, apparently.
The Nats announced tonight that in addition to tendering contracts to their six arbitration-eligible players, they signed Solis to what is reportedly a 1-year/$850,000 deal, which falls short of the $900,000 MLB Trade Rumors projected the left-hander would get for 2019.
#Nats: Nationals have agreed to terms on a 1-year contract with Sammy Solis for 2019, avoiding arbitration.— federalbaseball (@federalbaseball) November 30, 2018
Additonally, the #Nats are tendering contracts to arbitration-eligible players: Anthony Rendon, Tanner Roark, Michael Taylor, Trea Turner, Kyle Barraclough & Joe Ross