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Heading into today, the Washington Nationals needed to agree on 2021 salaries with three arbitration-eligible players, Juan Soto, Trea Turner, and newly-acquired first baseman Josh Bell.
The deadline to do so in order to avoid potentially going to arbitration was at 1:00 PM ET this afternoon, but the Nationals’ deals with their three remaining unsigned players were announced hours after the deadline passed.
Soto, 22, earned a pro-rated amount of his $629,400 salary in 2020, when he finished with the highest batting average in the National League (.351; which was second-highest in the majors), MLB’s top OBP, (.490), the highest SLG (.695), highest wOBA (.478), highest wRC+ (200), fifth-most walks (41), and the highest BB% (20.9%) in 47 games and 196 plate appearances, over which he was worth 2.4 fWAR after starting the season late following a positive COVID-19 test on the morning of the season opener in July.
Cot’s Baseball Contract’s projection for Soto’s ‘21 salary had him getting $5M this season, after he qualified for Super Two status this winter.
According to multiple reports today, Soto and the Nationals agreed to an $8.5M salary for the upcoming campaign, avoiding arbitration.
Turner, 27, finished up his sixth big league season with an impressive .335/.394/.588 line, 15 doubles, 12 homers, a .413 wOBA, 157 wRC+, 22 walks, and 12 stolen bases in 59 games and 259 PAs in the 60-game season.
Turner and the Nationals avoided arbitration last winter and he earned a pro-rated total of the $7.45M he and team agreed on in early January 2020.
Cot’s Baseball Contracts had the shortstop getting raise to around $11M in 2021. Turner and the Nationals agreed on a $13M salary for the upcoming season.
Bell, 28, earned a pro-rated total of his $4.8M salary last season, after avoiding arbitration with the Pittsburgh Pirates, which was a raise for the first-time arb-eligible slugger who’d earned $587,000 in 2019, when he put up a .277/.367/.569 line with 37 doubles, 37 home runs, a .378 wOBA, and 135 wRC+ in 143 games and 613 PAs, over which he was worth 2.5 fWAR, but he struggled in the truncated 2020 campaign, and finished the season at .226/.305/.364 with three doubles and eight home runs in 57 games and 223 PAs in a -0.4 fWAR campaign.
Traded to the Nationals on Christmas Eve, Bell was projected by Cot’s Baseball Contracts to get a raise to around $6M this season. He and the Nationals agreed on what is reportedly a 1-year/$6.35M deal, avoiding arbitration.