Jon Heyman of MLB Network has reported that the Washington Nationals have agreed to a contract with veteran reliever Tony Sipp. ESPN’s Buster Onley also added that the deal is for one season at $1 million. It also includes a $2.5 million mutual option or $250,000 buyout in 2020.
The contract is a very team friendly deal. Despite coming off a three-year, $18 million deal and posting a career-best 1.86 ERA in 2018, Sipp had to settle for a considerable salary decrease. The 10-year MLB veteran who will help solidify the Nationals bullpen.
Sipp most recently spent time with the Houston Astros (2014-2018). He also has stints with the Arizona Diamondbacks (2014) and Cleveland Indians (2009-2012). The longtime relief pitcher expects to lay a valuable role in Washington despite a reputation of inconsistent play.
Sipp’s Earned Run Average (ERA) has varied drastically by season. He has two excellent seasons in which he posted a sub-2.00 ERA and an additional season with an ERA under 3.00. The left hander also has five seasons with an ERA over 4.00. One of those seasons (in 2017), included a career-worst 5.79 ERA.
Despite the drastic highs and lows, the 35-year-old has managed to produce a solid major league career. He has a lifetime ERA of 3.67 and ha appeared in 580 major league games. He has also been a very effective specialist against left-handed hitters, holding southpaws to a .191 batting average and .577 OPS.
Sipp will join a National’s bullpen that ranked 26th in bullpen Wins Above Replacement (WAR) in 2018. He will join fellow relievers Sean Doolittle and Trevor Rosenthal as they attempt to lead the new-look Nationals through a tough National League East.
Sipp’s services will be important in a division that boasts left-handed stars such as Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper, New York Mets second baseman Robinson Cano, and Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman.