The Nationals are next in our arbitration eligibles series.
- First time: Tyler Clippard, Jordan Zimmermann
- Second time: John Lannan, Michael Morse, Doug Slaten
- Third time: Tom Gorzelanny, Jesus Flores
Slaten battled a sore elbow this year, tossing only 16 1/3 innings in the Majors. At $900K he'd be cheap to retain, but he is a candidate to be non-tendered. Flores' shoulder injury knocked him down the Nationals' catching depth chart, and they could look to trade him before the December 12th non-tender deadline. We project a salary of around $800K, so some team will likely take a chance if the Nationals don't. Gorzelanny cleared waivers in August, indicating no team found him a good value at a $2.1MM salary this year. Next year it'd be around $2.8MM through arbitration. His strikeout and walk rates in 15 starts this year were solid, though his suitors may wait out the Nats to see if they tender him a contract.
Lannan ($4.8MM), Morse ($3.7MM), Zimmermann ($1.8MM), and Clippard ($1.7MM) all project to be relatively affordable and part of the 2012 Nationals. The four players project to earn a total of $12MM next year.
Including that $12MM, the Nationals have about $57MM in 2012 commitments before accounting for minimum salary players. Holding payroll steady at this year's $68MM wouldn't leave much flexibility, but the Nats are capable of going beyond that number in their offseason quest to add a starting pitcher and an outfielder.