By Friday, teams will have made their decisions on tender/non-tender for 2019 contracts to unsigned players who are not signed to set contracts and this includes arbitration eligible players. The Nationals have seven players who are arbitration eligible, and here they are with their projected arbitration values: Anthony Rendon – $17.6 million , Tanner Roark – $9.8 million, Trea Turner – $5.3 million, Michael Taylor – $3.2 million. Kyle Barraclough — $1.9 million, Joe Ross – $1.5 million, and Sammy Solis – $900,000.
Most of the Nats decisions this week are no-brainers like tendering contracts to Anthony Rendon and Trea Turner. It was Turner who became eligible for an extra year of arbitration as a “Super-Two” which awarded him that early arbitration due to his service time, and he will receive four years of salary arbitration instead of the typical three years.
There will be some tough decisions on players like Roark, Taylor and Solis. Each player performed below team average. The Nationals have a few ways to handle each arbitration player:
- Negotiate a new deal before the November 30th deadline
- Negotiate a new deal after November 30th and before an arbitration hearing
- Agree to a deal and player stays on the roster beyond March 15th
- Agree to a deal and grant the player his unconditional release prior to March 15th and be responsible for one-sixth of the player’s 2019 salary
- Trade the player and the new team has to follow all of the same rules for arbitration players as the original team
As you can see, the Nationals have choices with their arbitration eligible players just like they did in 2017 when they released Derek Norris on March 15th of that season and had to eat 1/6th of his $4.2 million salary since the team had agreed to on a one-year deal to avoid an arbitration hearing. The Nationals do not want to eat the 1/6th of Roark’s projected $9.8 million, but if they had to release him they would be on the hook for $1.63 million.
Since the Nationals have not signed any new starting pitchers or another outfielder, they most likely will either attempt to negotiate a one-year deal with Roark and Taylor before Friday’s deadline or tender a one-year deal binding them either negotiate a salary or head to an arbitration hearing which would still give them the ability to do #4 to #7 above.
This will be an interesting week for all teams, and the Dodgers already have released two arbitration-eligible pitchers as they let right-hander Erik Goeddel and left-hander Zac Rosscup go this weekend. Other teams will do the same and the Ray released slugger C.J. Cron. These moves will keep adding to the depth of the free agent pool, and it could drive down the price of some players like last year.