One of the underrated keys to the Nationals' early strong start last year was the play of their bullpen. As such, the Nationals are doing what they can to lock in those players who succeeded there. According to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, the team has signed lefty Sean Burnett to a two-year contract extension.
Here are the details of his contract:
Burnett will make at least $3.7 million for two years - $1.4 million in 2011 (which includes a $100,000 signing bonus) and $2.3 million in 2012. The Nationals can exercise an option for 2013 worth $3.5 million. If the do not, they owe Burnett a $250,000 buyout. Burnett can opt out if the Nationals exercise the option, with the buyout waived if he does.
Burnett had a poor 1-7 record, but that obscured just how solid a pitcher he was last season. He had just a 2.14 ERA in 73 appearances, and struck out nearly nine batters per nine innings. At 27, it was the strongest season of his career, and well worth the small extension he received, especially when relievers are being paid far more than usual in recent years.
Burnett was acquired in the trade that sent Lastings Milledge to Pittsburgh for Nyjer Morgan. It looks like that trade has worked out well for the National.