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Jeremy Hellickson signs with the Nationals

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The Nationals have re-signed Jeremy Hellickson to a one-year, $1.3 million contract. Jon Heyman reports that there are performance-based incentives in the deal that can push its total value to $4 million.

Hellickson made 19 starts for the Nationals last season, posting an ERA of 3.45 in 91 innings. His strikeout rate was pretty low and he was pretty stingy with hits and walks, but it’s an open question as to whether that was a matter of luck or a function of finding a new gear at the age 31. There’s also the matter of the wrist injury which ended his season in August. It was a sprain, and it should be no issue for 2019.

Either way, this is a cheap enough contract for Washington that they can afford to take a chance on the matter.

Clayton Kershaw shut down with “an arm kind of thing”

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Spring training is just underway but Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw is already being shut down indefinitely.

Kershaw threw two bullpen sessions this week and, as the Los Angeles Times reports, he “didn’t feel right” afterward. Manager Dave Roberts said it was “arm kind of thing,” which, viva specificity. Roberts did allow that it might be so-called “dead arm” but it’s too soon to know. For now he’ll be working out as usual but not throwing.

Kershaw has had an increasing number of nagging injuries and ailments over the past several seasons, limiting him to 26 starts last year, 27 the year before and 21 in 2016. Whether this is something serious or not is unknown, but at least he’s experiencing it now instead of the middle of the season.