The Washington Nationals are counting on Tony Sipp to give them something their bullpen lacked: a lefty reliever to go after lefty hitters in late-game situations.
A person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Sipp and the Nationals agreed in principle on a one-year contract for 2019 that guarantees $1.25 million and includes a mutual option for 2020.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal was pending the successful completion of a physical exam.
Sipp would get a $1 million salary this year, and the contract includes a $2.5 million mutual option for next year, with a $250,000 buyout. There are not any performance bonuses.
This move gives Washington’s rebuilt bullpen someone to use in a key spot against left-handed batters — such as Bryce Harper, the former Nationals slugger who joined the NL East rival Philadelphia Phillies as a free agent for $330 million over 13 seasons. Solis and Harper have never faced each other.
The Nationals were in the market for a left-handed reliever after releasing Sammy Solis last weekend. Solis agreed to a minor league contract with the San Diego Padres.
The 35-year-old Sipp is entering his 11th season.
He has a 25-20 career record with a 3.67 ERA and 513 strikeouts in 482 2/3 innings spanning 580 appearances for Cleveland, Arizona and Houston, all in relief.
Last season with the Astros, Sipp was 3-1 with a 1.86 ERA, holding lefty hitters to a .191 batting average.