HOUSTON, TX – OCTOBER 17: Tony Sipp #29 of the Houston Astros pitches in the ninth inning against the Boston Red Sox during Game Four of the American League Championship Series at Minute Maid Park on October 17, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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.

The Numbers

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.

The Impact

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.

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