Nationals, Tanner Rainey Avoid Arbitration

3:47pm: Rainey’s deal is worth $1.5MM, per Andrew Golden of The Washington Post.

3:45pm: The Nationals announced that they have agreed to terms on a one-year major league contract with right-hander Tanner Rainey, avoiding arbitration. The financial elements of the deal have not been reported yet.

Rainey, who turns 30 this weekend, was acquired from the Reds prior to the 2019 season and has since established himself as one of the club’s better relievers. Over the past four seasons, he’s made 139 appearances with a 4.42 ERA, though that number is inflated by a ghastly 7.39 showing in 2021. He’s kept his ERA under 4.00 in the other three seasons of that timeframe. He has walked 14.6% of batters faced over those four seasons, which is certainly quite high, but he’s also struck out an excellent 32.4% of them.

Rainey was showing positive signs in the control department in 2022, as his walk rate was down to 10.2%, his lowest such mark in a full season. Unfortunately, his progress was halted by a UCL sprain this summer, which led to Tommy John surgery in August. He will therefore miss most or perhaps even all of the 2023 season while rehabbing.

Rainey first reached arbitration eligibility one year ago as a Super Two player. He and the Nats agreed to a salary of $860K for 2022. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projected him for a raise to $1.5MM in his second of four arbitration years. Though it’s possible he’ll miss the majority of the next season, the Nats will be able to retain him via arbitration for two seasons after that.

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