Strasburg, Nats avoid arbitration, agree to $3.975M deal

Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg (37) throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins at Nationals Park Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $3.975 million deal for 2014. (Alex Brandon/Associated Press)

The Nationals reached an agreement with starter Stephen Strasburg on a contract to avoid an arbitration hearing, a procedural move that, due to the timing, suggests a harmonious relationship between the Nationals and their 25-year-old ace.

Strasburg will earn $3.975 million on his one-year deal, plus a possible $125,000 performance bonuses, which means he could top out at $4.1 million, according to a person familiar with the situation.

He  made $3.9 million last season, his final annual salary dictated by the contract he signed in 2009 after the Nationals chose him with the first overall pick.

Many arbitration cases linger deep into the winter; last year Jordan Zimmermann did not agree to a contract until after the start of spring training. Strasburg and the Nats found common ground days after the team began preparing negotiations with their arbitration-eligible players.

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