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Former Dodgers reliever Joe Blanton finalizes a $4-million, 1-year contract with the Nationals

Former Dodgers reliever Joe Blanton finalizes a $4-million, 1-year contract with the Nationals
Joe Blanton pitches for the Dodgers during the National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs at Dodger Stadium on Oct. 28. (David J. Phillip / Associated Press)

Setup man Joe Blanton and the Washington Nationals finalized a $4-million, one-year contract on Thursday.

The 36-year-old right-hander was a free agent after pitching for the Dodgers in 2016; he went 7-2 with a 2.48 ERA and 80 strikeouts in 80 innings across 75 regular-season appearances. He then went 1-0 and allowed only one hit in five scoreless innings in four games during a National League Division Series victory over Washington.

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Washington does not have an experienced closer after Mark Melancon left as a free agent to sign with the San Francisco Giants.

Blanton is 99-93 with a 4.35 ERA in 12 seasons with six clubs. He has appeared in 376 games, 124 in relief.

He joins a Nationals bullpen that also includes Shawn Kelley, Blake Treinen, Koda Glover, Oliver Perez, Sammy Solis and Trevor Gott.

Blanton's agreement includes $1 million in performance bonuses: $250,000 each for 50 and 60 innings, and $500,000 for 70 innings — identical to the provisions in his contract. Catcher Spencer Kieboom was designated for assignment by the Nationals to open a roster spot. The 25-year-old made his big-league debut on the final day of the 2016 regular season, walking in his only plate appearance and scoring.

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