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Drew Storen avoids arbitration with Nationals, gets one-year, $2.5 million deal

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The Nationals and right-hander Drew Storen have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $2.5 million contract. Storen’s agent, CAA Baseball, made the announcement on Twitter and added that the deal includes $1 million in performance bonuses.

This is a pretty nice chunk of change for Storen, who was arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter as a Super Two player. The 25-year-old remains under team control through 2016.

Storen was solid after returning from elbow surgery last season, including a 2.37 ERA and 24/8 K/BB ratio over 30 1/3 innings during the regular season, but he experienced a meltdown during Game 5 of the NLDS against the Cardinals. The Nationals signed Rafael Soriano to a two-year, $28 million contract this week and plan to use him as their closer, so Storen will pitch in a set-up role in 2013. Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo insisted today that the decision to add Soriano had nothing to do with the NLDS and that he still feels Storen is a closer.

Estrada in Game 3, Dickey in Game 4 for Blue Jays

Marco Estrada
AP Photo/Kathy Willens
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It’s already been established that the Blue Jays would throw deadline acquisition David Price in Game 1 of their ALDS matchup against the Rangers and fast-rising right-hander Marcus Stroman in Game 2.

Now we know how they’ll fill out the rest of their rotation for the best-of-five round …

John Lott of the National Post notes that R.A. Dickey threw a simulated game on Tuesday afternoon at Rogers Centre, which lines him up for a potential ALDS Game 4 next Monday in Texas. Marco Estrada will take Game 3 on Sunday night in Arlington.

Mark Buehrle retired after his final regular-season start, so he’s obviously out of the mix.

Toronto is the World Series favorite to many as the postseason gets underway.

Yasiel Puig might be more of a bench guy in the NLDS

Yasiel Puig
AP Photo/Danny Moloshok
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Yasiel Puig appeared in just 79 games during the regular season and missed all of September with a right hamstring strain. He returned on October 3 and appeared in the Dodgers’ final two regular-season games, but that doesn’t mean he is anywhere close to 100 percent heading into the NLDS.

Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles says the Dodgers are unlikely to start Puig over Andre Ethier or Carl Crawford against right-handers in the best-of-five Division Series. And the Mets are scheduled to throw three righties in the first three games: Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Matt Harvey. The only left-hander in the Mets’ postseason rotation is Steven Matz, and he is somewhat questionable with a back injury.

Would it make sense to leave Puig off the NLDS roster entirely? If he does aggravate the hamstring injury, which seems possible even in a limited role, that would put him out of the mix for the NLCS.

They could send Puig to Arizona and have him face live pitching for the next 8-10 days.

But that’s just a suggestion. It doesn’t sound like it’s actually a consideration.