Nationals avoid arbitration with Drew Storen

January 17, 2013

Alex Brandon / AP

The Nationals and reliever Drew Storen avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $2.5 million contract for 2013, according to an announcement made over Twitter by CAA Sports, Storen’s representative.

Storen could make as much as an extra $1 million based on games finished. Storen will make $250,000 if he finishes 20 games. He’ll make an additional $50,000 if he reaches 35 games finished; an additional $100,000 for 40 games finished; an additional $150,000 for 45 games finished; an additional $200,000 for 50 games finished; and, finally, an additional $250,000 if he finishes 60 games.

The structure of the deal will allow Storen to earn his full value should he become the Nationals’ closer because of an injury to new closer Rafael Soriano – or if he is traded and becomes a closer for a different club.

Last year, Storen missed the first three months of the season after undergoing surgery to remove a bone chip from his right elbow in mid-April. He became dominant down the stretch, finishing his truncated season with a 2.37 ERA over 30 1/3 innings and five saves. In 2011, Storen established himself as one the sport’s best young closers, saving 43 of the Nationals’ 80 wins and punching up a 2.75 ERA.

His performance allowed Storen to make a small fortune for a “Super Two” player – a player who has yet to play three full seasons but ranks among the top 22 percent of players between two and three years of service time. For comparison, Jordan Zimmermann – a solid starter – made $2.3 million as a first-year, arbitration eligible player in 2012.

Storen, 25, became eligible for arbitration as a Super Two player only because of a tweak to the collective bargaining agreement. Under the old deal, the top 17 percent of players became eligible. Storen was one of seven extra arbitration eligible players in MLB this season.

The Nationals now have to reach deals with six more arbitration-eligible players: Roger Bernadina, Craig Stammen, Jordan Zimmermann, Tyler Clippard, Ian Desmond and Ross Detwiler.

Adam Kilgore covers the Nationals for The Washington Post.
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James Wagner · January 17, 2013