Washington Nationals Avoid Arbitration With 6 Of 7 Eligible Players; Jordan Zimmermann And Nats File Figures

Dilip Vishwanat

Jordan Zimmermann (two N's) and the Washington Nationals failed to agree on a deal this afternoon, leaving the right-hander as the only one of the Nats' seven arbitration-eligible players who didn't sign a contract for 2013 today.

Coming off a 2011 season in which he was limited to 161.1 innings in his first full-year back from Tommy John surgery, 26-year-old Washington Nationals' right-hander Jordan Zimmermann had a career-high 12 wins, going (12-8) in 2012, in a career-high 32 starts and a career-high 195.2 innings pitched, over which he had a career-low 2.94 ERA (down from a 3.18 ERA in 2011). Zimmermann's 2012 ERA was the 7th lowest amongst qualified starters in the National League last season, behind teammate Gio Gonzalez (2.89), St. Louis' starter Kyle Lohse (2.86), San Francisco's Matt Cain (2.79), Cincinnati's Johnny Cueto (2.78), New York's R.A. Dickey (2.73) and the Los Angeles Dodgers' lefty Clayton Kershaw (an NL-best 2.53 ERA).

The Nationals' no.3 starter (behind Stephen Strasburg and Gonzalez in the NL East Champion's rotation) had the NL's 11th lowest FIP (3.51), 16th lowest xFIP (3.78) and 10th best fWAR (+3.5) behind the Cards' Lohse (+3.6), Miami's Josh Johnson and the Giants' Cain (tied at +3.8), the Cards' Adam Wainwright (+4.4), the Phillies' Cole Hamels (+4.5), the Mets' Dickey (+4.6), the Reds' Cueto and Arizona rookie Wade Miley (tied at +4.8), Philadelphia's Lee (+4.9), Gio Gonzalez (+5.4) and Kershaw (+5.5).

Over the past two seasons, Zimmermann's only full seasons in the majors after his debut in '09 (91.1 IP), subsequent torn UCL that year and his rehab outings late in 2010 (31.0 IP), the Nats' right-hander has the 5th lowest BB/9 amongst qualified starters in the National League (1.87 BB/9) behind only the Cards' Kyle Lohse and the Reds' Bronson Arroyo (tied at 1.80 BB/9), the Marlins' (now Blue Jays') Mark Buehrle (1.78 BB/9) and the Phillies' Roy Halladay (1.64 BB/9) and Cliff Lee (1.42 BB/9).

Zimmermann's ERA over the last two years (3.05) is tied with the Giants' Ryan Vogelsong for the eighth lowest amongst qualified NL starters, behind the Mets' R.A. Dickey (2.99 ERA), the Phillies' Cole Hamels (2.92), teammate Gio Gonzalez (2.89), the Giants' Matt Cain (2.84), Cliff Lee (2.76), the Reds' Johnny Cueto (2.58) and Clayton Kershaw (2.40).

Zimmermann's 3.35 FIP is tied for the 9th lowest among qualified starters in the NL in the last two years. The right-hander's xFIP (3.78) is the 20th in the NL among starters and his +6.9 fWAR in the last two seasons is the NL's 10th best behind Dickey (+7.1 fWAR), Cueto (+7.7), the D-Backs' Ian Kennedy (+8.1), the Giants' Madison Bumgarner (+8.6), Cain (+8.8), Hamels (+9.4), Halladay (+10.6), Lee (+11.6) and Kershaw (+12.2).

The '07 2nd Round pick out of Auburndale, Wisconsin and the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point has a 3.47 ERA, a 3.56 FIP, 7.44 K/9 and 2.12 BB/9 in 81 starts and 479.1 career IP since his MLB debut in 2009. So, how much does Zimmermann deserve to make in 2013? According to CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman's report on Friday night, Zimmermann asked for $5.8M from the Nationals in 2013 with the Nats filing a figure of $4.6M. Zimmermann was the only one of seven arbitration-eligible Nats who didn't agree on a deal to avoid arbitration this afternoon.

As CBSSports.com's Mr. Heyman notes in the article containing the figures, the two sides can still agree on a deal before going to arbitration, and there have been rumors about a potential long-term deal, but if, "... the two sides still can't reach an agreement, an arbitrator will decide between the two numbers." Zimmermann avoided arbitration last winter, signing a 1-year/$2.3M dollar deal after he played for $415,000 in 2011 and $401,00 in 2010.

Drew Storen reportedly signed a 1-year/$2.5M dollar deal. Ross Detwiler signed a 1-year/$2.3375M dollar contract. The Nationals reportedly gave Roger Bernadina a 1-year/$1.2125M dollar deal. Craig Stammen reportedly signed a 2-year/$2.25M dollar deal. Tyler Clippard is reported to have signed a 1-year/$4M dollar deal while Ian Desmond is said to have agreed on a 1-year/$3.8M dollar deal. If you're the arbitrator, how much does Zimmermann get in 2013?

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