Arbitration Eligibles: Washington Nationals

The Nationals are next in our 2013 Arbitration Eligibles series.  Matt Swartz's salary projections are below.

Lannan projects as the team's most expensive arbitration eligible player even without a raise.  It was a rough year for the 28-year-old, who lost his arbitration case in February, lost the team's fifth starter competition to Detwiler in April, requested a trade, and then remained in the organization to post pedestrian Triple-A numbers for most of his season.  A non-tender should cap off his year, which will at least lead to free agency and a fresh start.

Zimmermann is a mainstay atop the Nats' rotation, as the 26-year-old posted his best season with 195 2/3 innings of 2.94 ball in the regular season.  Comparables remain light among those with three to four years of big league service, especially since Zimmermann was a Super Two.  Perhaps a new extension comp will emerge among Max Scherzer, Matt Harrison, and Homer Bailey.  If not, I could picture $45MM over five years (two of them free agent seasons) for Zimmermann.  Detwiler, the team's first overall pick in the 2007 draft, did solid work at the back end of the Nationals' rotation prior to his first arbitration year.

The Nationals have four arbitration eligible relievers in Clippard, Storen, Gorzelanny, and Stammen.  When an elbow injury sidelined Storen in Spring Training, Clippard was initially denied a shot at closing in favor of Henry Rodriguez and Brad Lidge.  A larger committee took hold by late May, after which Clippard took hold of the job.  Storen was activated on July 19th, but Clippard still picked up 17 saves after that point and finished with 32.  The situation helped Clippard financially, as nothing earns bigger bucks for a reliever than saves.  As reliever salaries continue to rise, Clippard is still a good value at under $5MM.  Meanwhile, the abbreviated campaign and small saves total cost Storen some bucks in advance of his first arbitration year.  Gorzelanny and Stammen both had solid years and should also be retained.

Flores seemed like a trade candidate a year ago, but he received decent playing time in 2012 after starting catcher Wilson Ramos went down.  Flores didn't do much with his audition, and now Kurt Suzuki is projected to split time with Ramos in 2013.  A trade or non-tender is in Flores' future; like Lannan, he'll welcome the change of scenery.  Bernadina had a very strong season as a much-needed utility outfielder, and he'll be retained.

The Nationals' patience with Desmond paid off, as the shortstop had a breakthrough age 26 season.  Desmond played well in a sabermetric sense, but also had the surface numbers that pay well in arbitration (batting average, home runs, RBI, steals).  Since 2013 is his first arbitration year, he'll remain affordable at around $3.2MM.  The Nationals had preliminary extension talks with Desmond during the season, which will likely be rekindled soon.  Alexei Ramirez's $32.5MM extension with the White Sox could be a point of reference.

Assuming everyone except Lannan and Flores are retained, the Nationals are looking at an estimated $21.4MM for eight arbitration eligible players.

Matt Swartz's arbitration projections are available exclusively at MLB Trade Rumors.  To read more about his projection model, check out this series of posts.  To see projected arbitration salaries for all players, click here.

Leave a Reply

7 Comments on "Arbitration Eligibles: Washington Nationals"

2 years 9 months ago

If Flores does get non-tendered, I’d predict the mets going after him.

2 years 9 months ago

Orioles should sign John Lannan to a cheap deal to fill a role in the back end of their rotation

2 years 9 months ago

This isn’t even fair… The systems messed up, it exponentially rewards teams that don’t spend money, put a shitty team on the field for years, gives them a bunch of high first round picks then makes them juggernauts for a fraction of the price. More teams should tank on purpose so they can “rebuild”like the Nationals. While other teams that remain competitive get stuck with mid picks where the odds of drafting someone of top quality becomes extremely lower. I could rant on about this for days but there really is no use.

2 years 9 months ago

This is one of the most ridiculous posts I have ever read. Were you making the same complaints when Nationals were losing 100 games in a season? We make one playoff appearance in about 30 years and you think it is unfair that Nationals have some talented players. What team do you root for? I would like to see your team do the same because we are not made of just #1 picks (Harper and Strasburg). Moore, Lombardozzi, Espinosa, Desmond, Stammen, and all guys traded for Gio were drafted in 3rd or later rounds. I can’t believe you are seriously complaining about this.

Steven Weisfeld
2 years 9 months ago

The is no way the Nats keep Gorzelanny at 2.8 Milliion, that money will be better spent reuping Gonzalez or getting a new lefty. Also do not count out John Lannan replacing Edwin Jackson as the “5th” starter and using the extra money to resign LaRoche or go after a free agent, maybe Bourne or Upton

2 years 9 months ago

I think Nationals should extend two guys; Jordan Zimmermann and Tyler Clippard. Clip has pitched the most innings for a reliever this past 3 seasons, 252 IP. I think we should reward this guy for his work. What a tremendous job he has done for us! 12-15 million for 3-4 years would be great. There is a risk of an injury given his high pitch (4220 pitches, also top most among relievers), but I think his workload should decrease as Nationals have few more RH relievers with good stuff like Stammen, Garcia, Mattheus. One thing I hope from his is another pitch if he can learn because his deception skills are not always working.

JZ has truly been as much ace as SS. He has shown more maturity on the mound, basically more proven pitcher. I would like to see him extended for a five or six year deal, 45 – 50 million. He has one of the best K/BB ratios.

2 years 9 months ago

part of why I am proud of the Nationals and what they’ve done (proving
me right from 4-5 years ago) is the fact that we have something in
common. We have both been decimated by Jeffrey Loria’s bs. Unfortunately
for me, I have to wait at least 10 years to be rid of him, but at least
you guys get what you deserve. You have an amazing farm system right
now. I personally would not go after Michael Bourne. You have internal
options and multiple trade pieces as well. I dont think anyone would
take Werths horrible contract off your hands, but you do have Tyler
Moore, Michael Morse, etc.