Hellickson, Nationals finalize $1.3M contract

              FILE - In this Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018 file photo, Washington Nationals starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson throws during the first inning of the second baseball game of the team's doubleheader against the Cincinnati Reds at Nationals Park in Washington. A person familiar with the negotiations says that right-hander Jeremy Hellickson and the Washington Nationals have agreed in principle to a $1.3 million, one-year contract. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019 because the deal was subject to a successful physical exam. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Right-hander Jeremy Hellickson and the Washington Nationals have finalized their $1.3 million, one-year contract, a deal that allows him to earn $4 million in performance bonuses for starts.

The 31-year-old was 5-3 with a 3.45 ERA in 19 starts for Washington last season, when he earned just over $2.9 million, including $1.1 million in bonuses.

Hellickson is 74-72 with a 4.07 ERA in the majors, and the Nationals are Hellickson’s fifth club in a big league career that began in 2010 with the Tampa Bay Rays.

He is expected to be the front-runner to claim the No. 5 spot in Washington’s starting rotation, following Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin and Anibal Sanchez.

Hellickson can earn $200,000 each for starts 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, 21 and 23, and $300,000 apiece for 25-30.

Washington cleared a roster spot by designating right-hander Trevor Gott for assignment on Friday. He was 0-2 with a 5.68 ERA in 20 relief appearances last year.