Ross Detwiler, Nationals avoid arbitration


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The Nationals and left-handed starter Ross Detwiler agreed to a one-year, $3 million deal to avoid arbitration, the team announced last night.

Detwiler became the third of 10 arbitration-eligible players to settle with the Nationals. Previously, the Nationals had signed Stephen Strasburg to a $3.975 million deal and given Ross Ohlendorf $1.25 million.

Detwiler made roughly $2.3 million in 2013, missing the final three months of the season with a herniated disk in his back. After a strong start, he struggled through injuries and finished 2-7 with a 4.04 record.  This spring, Detwiler will compete for the No. 5 starter role.

Pitchers Doug Fister, Jordan Zimmermann, Jerry Blevins, Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard, catcher Wilson Ramos and shortstop Ian Desmond remain without salaries for the 2014 season. Players become arbitration-eligible by accruing at least three years of service time.

None is at risk of leaving the organization; the arbitration process merely determines their salary, based on service time and on-field accomplishments. You’ll be seeing a lot of players agree to salaries in the next week or so, and in most every case it will be procedural news. Last year, every arbitration-eligible player in baseball agreed to a salary before a hearing, an acrimonious process both sides prefer to avoid.

The Nationals can hope this series of negotiations will spark long-term extensions with Desmond and Zimmermann. Boz has a strong column about that in today’s Post.

In other news, several reports have Mark Reynolds signing with the Brewers, where he will receive a better chance at everyday playing time than he would have had with Washington. The Nationals had considered Reynolds for a bench role.

They didn’t land him, but their interest suggests some concern on their part about Adam LaRoche’s ability to hit left-handed pitching. Already, the Nationals have asked Ryan Zimmerman to prepare to make 10 to 15 starts at first base against left-handed starters. Reynolds, a right-handed slugger, may have also been used to spell LaRoche in a semi-platoon.

For most of career, LaRoche has not shown a prominent split against left-handed pitchers. Last year, though, LaRoche  hit .198/.254/.313 against lefties with three homers and 38 strikeouts in 142 plate appearances.

Adam Kilgore covers the Nationals for The Washington Post.
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