The Washington Nationals tendered contracts to all seven of their arbitration-eligible players before Friday’s deadline. That list includes left-hander Sammy Solis, about whom there was some doubt whether he would be tendered.
The other six players who received contracts were Trea Turner, Anthony Rendon, Michael A. Taylor, Tanner Roark, Kyle Barraclough and Joe Ross.
The Nationals went further with Solis, coming to terms with him on an $850,000 deal for 2019.
The Solis decision comes after a disastrous season for the 30-year-old lefty, who struggled so mightily against left-handed hitters that the Nationals sent him to Class AAA Syracuse twice — though, in fairness, he was also one of the only members of a clogged bullpen with options remaining. After being sent down the first time, largely because of numbers, Solis expressed frustration with the move.
“It makes it easier on them,” Solis said. “… Send me down, don’t have to cut anyone loose now, and they’ll make a decision later.”
Solis’s frustration stemmed largely from the fact that he bore the brunt of the Nationals' early-season need for relief help. He appeared in 30 of the Nationals' first 54 games, numbers that concerned some of his veteran teammates who were well-aware of his injury history. Whether because of that workload or because of his inability to adjust to left-handed hitters, or some combination of the two, Solis struggled down the stretch. He pitched to a 12.38 ERA in August and September and allowed opposing hitters to compile a 1.130 on-base-plus-slugging percentage.
Some in the Nationals clubhouse privately expressed concerns about Solis’s ability and willingness to make adjustments when he struggled. A few others raised concerns about the way the coaching staff handled Solis, about whether he got enough guidance in making those adjustments. Regardless, Solis never tossed blame to anyone after rough outings, standing reliably in front of his locker to answer for every bad pitch, maintaining a bright disposition amid his struggles.
He will miss this weekend’s Winterfest due to a fundraiser his family is holding for an orphanage near their home in Arizona.
None of his fellow arbitration-eligible Nationals represented similar question marks. Rendon and Turner are key pieces of the infield. Roark and Ross are expected to be rotation staples in 2019. Taylor continues to be a promising and relatively cost-effective outfield option. They acquired Barraclough last month to be a key piece in their bullpen.
The Nationals will exchange contract figures with all of them before the deadline to do so, which looms in the new year. The Nationals have a long history of getting arbitration deals done before requiring a hearing — and have a history of trouble when they do require an arbiter to decide things for them. The last National to require a hearing was reliever Jerry Blevins, who they traded before the start of the 2015 season after a contentious hearing.
MLB Trade Rumors projects the six players to make the following:
Anthony Rendon: $17.6 million
Tanner Roark: $9.8 million
Trea Turner: $5.3 million
Michael A. Taylor: $3.2 million
Kyle Barraclough: $1.9 million
Joe Ross: $1.5 million