Nats tender all eligible, reach deal with Solis
Left-hander back with Washington in 2019, avoiding arbitration
WASHINGTON -- The future of left-hander Sammy Solis was the one uncertainty for the Nationals ahead of Friday night's non-tender deadline, as the club had to determine whether his tantalizing potential warranted another chance after two frustrating seasons.
Ultimately, Washington decided to hang on to Solis, agreeing to a one-year deal Friday to avoid arbitration. The deal will pay Solis $850,000, according to multiple reports, a modest raise from the $560,300 he earned last season. The Nationals also tendered contracts to the rest of their six arbitration-eligible players in Anthony Rendon, Tanner Roark, Michael A. Taylor, Trea Turner, Kyle Barraclough and Joe Ross.
Tendering contracts to each of those six players was a fairly easy decision for the Nats. Solis, on the other hand, was the subject of some debate.
Solis, 30, has been one of the team's most frustrating relievers the past two seasons, unable to remain healthy and inconsistent when he does take the mound. From 2017-18, Solis posted a 6.20 ERA; opposing lefties mashed him for a .993 OPS last season. He was demoted to the Minors twice in 2018, in part because he had options but also because of ineffectiveness. And even at his best, he issues too many walks, with a career average of 3.9 free passes per nine innings.
Still, Solis was put into big spots in the postseason under previous manager Dusty Baker and was used heavily by manager Dave Martinez in 2018, appearing in 33 of the Nationals' first 59 games. Two separate managers have been enticed by his "stuff" and enormous potential, as Solis is a lefty capable of throwing multiple innings from the bullpen with an electric fastball and breaking pitches to compliment.
For less than $1 million, the Nationals believed it worth a chance to see if he can regain form.
The Nats are in the process of revamping their bullpen this offseason, which has included signing free agents Trevor Rosenthal and Barraclough. Those two, along with Sean Doolittle and perhaps left-hander Matt Grace, are the only players who will be assured spots in the Opening Day bullpen, leaving Solis to compete for one of three or four spots.
Washington will now exchange salary figures with the rest of its arbitration-eligible players before the new year. The Nats have not required an arbitration hearing since 2015.