WASHINGTON -- The Nationals avoided any arbitration hearings this offseason after agreeing to terms with all four of their arbitration-eligible players on Friday.
Washington avoided arbitration with Bryce HarperAnthony Rendon, right-hander Tanner Roark and catcher Derek Norris, agreeing to one-year deals with each player.
Nationals avoid arbitration with Bryce Harper, three others
Harper will receive the most significant raise after he settled for $13.625 million, according to multiple reports, with Rendon set to receive $5.8 million. Roark will earn $4.3 million and Norris signed for $4.2 million. The Nationals have not confirmed those figures.
Harper received $5 million last season coming off winning the National League Most Valuable Player Award in 2015, but that deal had been agreed to before his MVP performance. Had he negotiated his salary through arbitration, it almost certainly would have been higher.
Harper's contract has been one of the biggest topics around baseball for the past few years, with speculation remaining that he could seek a total package of more than $400 million when he becomes a free agent after the 2018 season. He is already one of the biggest stars in baseball and will be 26 then, still in the prime of his career. If Harper comes close to replicating his performance from 2015 during the next two seasons, he will almost certainly sign the richest contract in baseball history.
This was Rendon's first year of arbitration eligibility after earning $2.8 million last season. He was projected to earn $6.4 million in 2017, according to MLB Trade Rumors. He had a strong season bouncing back from injury, when he posted a 4.1 Wins Above Replacement according to Baseball-Reference.com, won the NL Comeback Player of the Year Award and was an NL Gold Glove Award finalist.
Roark was arbitration-eligible for the first time in his career after a breakout season in 2016. He posted a 5.5 WAR, which was the sixth most in the Majors among pitchers. It earned him a significant raise from his $543,400 salary last season.
After the worst season of his career, Norris sees his salary increase from $2.925 million in 2016 to $4.2 million next season. The Nats acquired Norris from the Padres this offseason with hopes that he will be able to bounce back from his down year and establish himself as a strong big league catcher again.
Friday was the deadline for both sides to exchange salary figures by a 1 p.m. ET deadline. If they did not agree to a deal before then, a hearing would have been set for February, when a panel of three arbitrators would have decided between the two figures. Washington has generally employed a "file and trial" strategy, treating Friday's deadline as a hard one and cutting off negations.
But the Nationals were able to avoid going to a hearing for the second consecutive year.
Jamal Collier/ MLB.com

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