Nationals Pitchers With Major Incentives

The Nationals guaranteed over $22MM during the offseason to free agent pitchers, with the lion's share going to Jason Marquis.  But that total also includes three interesting signings, hurlers who scuffled in 2009 but had prior success.  Matt Capps, Chien-Ming Wang, and Scott Olsen were lured to Washington D.C. in part due to big-time incentive clauses.  Let's take a look.

  • Capps was non-tendered by the Pirates and drew interest from a dozen clubs.  It came down to the Nationals and Cubs, and Capps ultimately took a one-year, $3.5MM guarantee from the Nats.  They have the added bonus of controlling him in 2011 as an arbitration-eligible player.  Capps' contract includes solid incentives for games finished – up to $425K.  He's already finished 16 games, tying Francisco Cordero for the MLB lead.  Capps should be able to max out his incentives this year and earn $3.925MM in total.
  • Wang signed for a $2MM base salary, and he's also arbitration-eligible after the season.  His incentives exceed his base, as he can tack on $3MM.  Wang is recovering from shoulder surgery and hasn't headed out on a rehab assignment quite yet, so it appears he won't max out his incentives.
  • If you blinked, you might've missed Scott Olsen's time as a free agent.  After earning $2.8MM in '09, Olsen was non-tendered on the December 10th deadline.  The Nats scooped him back up on the 13th with a $1MM base salary.  Olsen can earn $2.825MM in incentives based on starts, up to 33.  The 26-year-old southpaw is making over $85K extra per start.  He's already made five, and sports a 3.54 ERA, 8.4 K/9, and 2.9 BB/9.  Like the others, the Nationals control Olsen for 2011 as an arbitration-eligible player.  If he continues looking like the Olsen of '06, another non-tender is out of the question.


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15 Comments on "Nationals Pitchers With Major Incentives"


Triteon
5 years 2 months ago

Capps has been a steal, and Olsen is starting to look like he’s back on track. Still a young guy too.

lasordaforpresident
5 years 2 months ago

Rizzo and the Nats were blasted this offseason by non Nat followers, while Marquis hasnt paid off at all so far, who is willing to blast them for Pudge now? Flores wasnt going to be ready and they had nobody to put up Pudges numbers. Most people applauded the Brunney deal, whom they got for free since JH went back to the Dodgers, but he is off to a slow start. This teams starting is the weakness right now, but with a winning record and lots of help on the way there is a lot to like about where this team could end up. What if Wang comes back and throws decent going from ALeast to the NLeast? Lannan could end up without a job if Olsen continues to pitch well…could he be trade bait? And they should be able to close the book on Stammen.

1. Livan
2. Strasburg
3. Wang
4. Olsen
5. Marquis

WolandJR
5 years 2 months ago

Don’t forget about Ross Detweiler. He has all the tools to be a useful major league starter and should be coming back around June. That Luis Atilano seems like he may be serviceable as well, though I am not totally sold on him yet.

5 years 2 months ago

I am, I still think they wasted millions signing Pudge.

5 years 2 months ago

Yeah. I agree wholeheartedly.

They got a catcher having a wow-year so far that’s not going to help them do anything but be .500. And there’s no way Pudge stays this way.

That’s money they could’ve spent on the draft.

gwells
5 years 2 months ago

the “spend on the draft” argument is only valid if/when you show that they didn’t spend legitimately this/last year.

5 years 2 months ago

I’m not saying they haven’t, I’m just saying it’s more they could spend on the draft.

gwells
5 years 2 months ago

so… if they spent reasonably on the draft, why would you think they should save FA money to spend more on the draft? that doesn’t make any sense. you’re saying they should have given the guys they signed an extra $4-5M dollars??

5 years 2 months ago

Sorry if I implied that they would have to spend it. I’m just saying, that money going to Pudge could end up being the difference in them signing Bryce Harper or not.

I seriously doubt it, but it seems a dumb risk considering they gave him a two-year deal and aren’t going to compete this year.

lasordaforpresident
5 years 2 months ago

Not sure where to find salaries by position but I dont think Pudge is being completely overpaid (is he one of the top ten paid catchers?), yes there were other options for cheaper, none of them would sell a jersey or bring fans to watch, that and Pudge’s good start I dont think it was a horrible signing…at what point would you admit you were wrong about the signing?

ultimetwarrior
5 years 2 months ago

Wait until Livan comes back down to earth, then re-evaluate that staff. His Hits/9IP is at 6.0 right now–it’s 9.9 for his career. He walks as many as he strikes out. He’s bound to get pounded for one of his usual 8 or 9 run disasters soon. Olsen is real good when he keeps his cool. Marquis should start pitching a little better soon.

lasordaforpresident
5 years 2 months ago

Not trying to say that Livan is an ace and going to stay this way by any means…personally believe he ate himself out of being a better pitcher. Just that currently he is pitching very well and with his experience he will stay at the top of the rotation this year…my point with the staff is that they are going to be a lot better by mid-season

daveineg
5 years 2 months ago

I was “screaming” on Brewer fan website forums for Brewers to non-tender Bush and sign Olsen after Nats made it clear they wouldn’t tender him and again after Brewers tendered Bush to still go after Olsen during his short FA stint. Most of Brewer nation ridiculed me for that stance. It wasn’t hard to see that Olsen at age 26 was a prime candidate to rebound. His resurgence doesn’t surprise me in the least.

j6takish
5 years 2 months ago

This year is all about proving that the Nats are no longer a joke, and to make the team attractive to free agents, and I’m pretty sure that they will be more than successful

lasordaforpresident
5 years 2 months ago

Your right, how stupid of me to think that a pitcher who is 4-1 with a 1.04 ERA is doing well and leading a team’s staff…Livan has never looked dominating, but he somehow gets the job done…the Nats dont care about your stat numbers, they care about who is getting the job done.