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Stephen Strasburg signs, avoids arbitration with Nationals

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The Nationals and Stephen Strasburg agreed to terms Friday night on a contract for 2014, avoiding arbitration.

Strasburg was arbitration-eligible for the first time in his career, giving him the right to negotiate his salary. If the right-hander and the club couldn't settle on terms before Tuesday's deadline, he would have filed for arbitration and the two sides would have submitted competing offers next Friday, setting a date for a hearing in February before a three-person panel.

Thus, Strasburg and the Nationals avoided a potentially messy arbitration process by finding common ground now.

Strasburg will earn a base salary of $3.975 million this year, with performance incentives, according to a source familiar with the contract. He made $3.9 million in 2013, when he finished 8-9 with a 3.00 ERA in a career-high 30 starts.

Strasburg will have two more seasons of arbitration-eligibility. Unless he signs a long-term extension at some point, he'll become a free agent after the 2016 season.

With Strasburg signed, the Nationals have eight remaining unsigned arbitration-eligible players: pitchers Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister, Ross Detwiler, Tyler Clippard, Drew Storen and Jerry Blevins, shortstop Ian Desmond and catcher Wilson Ramos.

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