2011 Contract Issues: Washington Nationals

The Nationals face one contractual option after the season.  Second baseman Adam Kennedy has a $2MM club option with a $500K buyout.  Of course, it's too early to tell if Kennedy can reprise his offensive success of '09 and post a solid defensive season.

Aside from Kennedy, nearly $24MM could be freed up with departing free agents.  Adam Dunn ($12MM) and Cristian Guzman ($8MM) make up the bulk.  Talks for a Dunn extension have quieted.  The Nationals will be free of their commitment to Austin Kearns, who received a $1MM buyout this year.

Increases to players under contract are mild, made up mostly of Ryan Zimmerman's $2.675MM bump.  The Nats have several notable arbitration cases after the season.  John Lannan goes for the first time, while Sean Burnett and Jesus Flores go for a second.  Third-timers include Josh Willingham, Matt Capps, and Scott Olsen.  Fourth-timers are interesting too, with Chien-Ming Wang and Brian Bruney in the mix.  Recent history says the Nationals won't be shy about going to hearings if necessary.

Assuming Dunn leaves, the Nationals will have money to work with even if they hold payroll steady.  It might be another active offseason for Washington.

Thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the info.

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