Ross avoids arbitration with $1 million deal for 2019

The Nationals got a jump on Friday’s arbitration deadline, agreeing to terms tonight with Joe Ross on a one-year contract that reportedly will pay him $1 million.

Ross, who was eligible for arbitration for the first time, gets a raise from his 2018 salary of $567,900, though not nearly as much as some others with comparable big league service time will receive because he missed more than a calendar year while recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Ross-Throws-Gray-Front-Sidebar.jpgThe 25-year-old right-hander is 17-15 with a 4.01 ERA in 51 career appearances, 48 of those starts. On track to solidify himself as a long-term part of the Nationals rotation, he struggled in 2017 before tearing the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow, then spent most of 2018 rehabbing from major surgery.

Ross returned in September and made three starts, allowing nine earned runs and 17 hits in 16 innings. He proved his arm was healthy again, but now he’ll need to prove he can maintain health over a full season and contribute again to a Nationals rotation that needs a No. 5 starter.

Ross was one of seven Nationals players who entered the offseason eligible for arbitration. He joins reliever Sammy SolĂ­s in signing before Friday afternoon’s deadline, with Anthony Rendon, Trea Turner, Michael A. Taylor and Kyle Barraclough still looking to agree to terms and avoid an arbitration hearing next month.

Tanner Roark would have been the seventh member of the roster to face arbitration, but the right-hander was traded to the Reds during the Winter Meetings and now is negotiating with the Reds on his 2019 salary.

Ross’ $1 million salary agreement was first reported by The Athletic.

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