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Nationals, Ross Ohlendorf agree to one-year deal

Ross Ohlendorf. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

The Nationals tendered contracts to all nine of their arbitration-eligible players, answering their only non-tender deadline question by signing right-hander Ross Ohlendorf to a one-year contract to avoid an arbitration hearing.

The Nationals faced easy decisions in keeping most of their arbitration-eligible players, plus newly acquired Doug Fister. They also wanted to bring back Ohlendorf, who had a breakout season in 2013 as a starter and reliever after a promotion from Class AAA Syracuse. But they wanted to do so without entering arbitration, and they worked until minutes before Monday’s midnight deadline to secure a deal.

Ohlendorf’s deal will pay him $1.25 million guaranteed, according to a person familiar with the situation. He can make up $3 million more in performance bonuses, which he can attain as either a starter or a reliever.

Ohlendorf will enter spring training with a chance to compete for the fifth spot in the Nationals’ rotation, for which Ross Detwiler appears to be a clear favorite. With his guaranteed salary, he seems slated for at least a role in the Nationals’ bullpen as a long reliever.

With his reworked, rock-and-fire delivery, Ohlendorf surprised last season by throwing 97-mph fastballs. Ohlendorf had a 3.28 ERA in 60 1/3 innings, and the Nationals went 6-1 in games he started.

Ohlendorf, 31, will also be eligible for arbitration again after this season. The Nationals signed him last winter to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.


Adam Kilgore covers national sports for the Washington Post. Previously he served as the Post's Washington Nationals beat writer from 2010 to 2014.
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