Heading into tonight’s 8:00 PM ET deadline to tender contracts to all arbitration-eligible players, Washington’s Nationals had decisions to make on a total of nine players, having agreed to a one-year deal with Andrew Stevenson (who’d qualified for Super Two status) last night.
That left the club with a list of players to make decisions on which included Josh Bell, Erick Fedde, Ryne Harper, Victor Robles, Tanner Rainey, Joe Ross, Juan Soto, Wander Suero, and Austin Voth.
The list originally included just six players, but four (Stevenson, Rainey, Voth, and Harper), were added when the 2021 cutoff for Super Two qualification was set at two years and 116 days of service time earlier this month.
The Nationals announced tonight that they tendered contracts to all but two of those nine arbitration-eligible players, non-tendering Harper and Suero (as well as first baseman Mike Ford, who was claimed off waivers from the Tampa Rays in August, and added to their 40-Man roster at that point, though he was optioned to and played at Triple-A, never appearing in the majors with the Nationals. See tweet below for a quick explainer on this type of move).
This would apply to Mike Ford, so perhaps we'll see him back with the Nationals on a minor-league deal. https://t.co/OALClOMJV6— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) December 1, 2021
Harper, 32, was acquired before the start of the 2020 campaign. He posted a 4.04 ERA, a 4.96 FIP, 14 walks, 31 Ks, and a .214/.297/.389 line against in 35 2⁄3 innings pitched over 34 total appearances on the year. He was projected to get $800K in arbitration this winter.
Suero, 30, signed with the Nationals out of the Dominican Republic in 2010, and debuted in the majors with Washington in 2018. He earned $600,700 in 2021 according to Cot’s, and in MLB Trade Rumors’ arbitration projections he was set to get a raise to around $900K for the 2022 campaign.
Suero struggled in the 2021 season, putting up a 6.53 ERA, a 5.78 FIP, six walks, 19 Ks, and a .286/.347/.524 line against in the first four months before he was injured and then back and forth between Triple-A and the majors late in the year.
Both players are now free agents.
As for the players who were tendered contracts, Bell, who avoided arbitration with the Nats after he was acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates last December, signing for $6.35M, is projected to get a raise to a $10M salary for 2022 after putting up a .261/.347/.476 line with 24 doubles and 27 homers in his first season in D.C.
Soto, who avoided arbitration when he agreed on an $8.5M deal with the club last winter, is projected to get a raise to around $16.2M in what will be his fifth season, coming off an MVP-caliber season (he finished second in voting) in which he put up a .313/.465/.534 line, 20 doubles, and 29 home runs.
Stevenson, as noted, avoided arbitration by reportedly agreeing on an $850K salary for the 2022 season (after he earned $579,100 last season).
Fedde earned $599,200 in 2021, and is projected to get $1.9M. Robles got $614K in 2021, and is projected to get $1.7M. Rainey got $589K last year, and is projected to get $800K.
Ross, whose season ended with an elbow injury, avoided arbitration when he signed a 1-year/$$1.5M deal last winter. He’s projected to get $3M.
Voth got $587,700 last winter, and is projected to get $1.0M this time around.