The Washington Nationals continued their productive offseason, agreeing to a one-year, $3.975 million deal with right-handed ace Stephen Strasburg, CBSSports.com reported Jan. 10.
As a result, the Nationals can avoid arbitration with one of their most prized players. Strasburg is regarded as one of the game's most dominant pitchers when he can stay healthy.
During the 2013 season, Strasburg appeared to have fully recovered from the Tommy John surgery he underwent in 2011. He went 8-9 in 2013 and was tied for eighth in the National League with a 3.00 ERA. But Strasburg underwent arthroscopic surgery after the season to remove bone chips from his right elbow. Nonetheless, Nationals officials seem to think the procedure will not have a long-term impact and expect Strasburg to be ready for spring training.
Strasburg did show some signs of wearing down late during the season and had to deal with tightness in his forearm, forcing him to miss two starts.
With a deal in place for Strasburg, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo can now focus on the other arbitration-eligible players on the current roster, including pitchers Jordan Zimmermann, newly acquired Doug Fister, Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard and Ross Detwiler. Shortstop Ian Desmond, who is another cornerstone player for the franchise, and catcher Wilson Ramos are also eligible for new deals before the Feb. 1 deadline.
Rizzo has said the team's main priority is taking care of the core players already on the roster, so he will be busy during the next couple of weeks trying to finalize contracts with these players.