Nationals Announce Deals With Five Of Seven Remaining Arbitration-Eligible Players

Dilip Vishwanat

The Washington Nationals announced deals with five of their seven remaining arbitration-eligible players this afternoon, signing Jordan Zimmermann, Ian Desmond, Drew Storen, Jerry Blevins and Wilson Ramos. Tyler Clippard and Doug Fister remain unsigned...

The 1:00 pm EST deadline to agree on contracts and avoid having to submit figures for arbitration has come and gone. Before the deadline passed, the Washington Nationals announced two-year deals with both Ian Desmond and Jordan Zimmermann and one-year deals with Drew Storen, Jerry Blevins and Wilson Ramos. In recent weeks, the Nats also signed arbitration-eligible pitchers Ross Ohlendorf, Stephen Strasburg and Ross Detwiler to one-year deals, avoiding arbitration. That leaves just Tyler Clippard and newly-acquired starter Doug Fister as the only arbitration-eligible Nationals not yet signed for 2014. Clippard and Fister can still agree on deals before they go to arbitration, but they and the Nats will now be submitting arbitration figures:

Arbitration cases are scheduled for February 1-21.

"[Zimmermann and Desmond] are vital guys on our team and they're going to play big roles hopefully in our championship season..." - Matt Williams on 106.7 the FAN in D.C.

New Nationals' manager Matt Williams talked about the signings this afternoon in an interview with Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier on 106.7 the FAN in D.C. when asked if the Nats were doing all they could to avoid going into uncomfortable arbitration hearings with the eligible players.

"I think it's uncomfortable for everybody," Williams said of the process. Zimmermann and Desmond, the new skipper said, "...are vital guys on our team and they're going to play big roles hopefully in our championship season."

The deals announced today, Williams explained, say, "...that the team is committed to signing them to multi-year contracts and not having to go to arbitration. But it also says that the players are, that they're willing to sign these contracts and say, 'Okay, I'm going to sign it for two years and I'm ready to go.' I think everybody is filled with anticipation at this point and I think these guys really love where they're at and they're ready to go and you see it by them signing these contracts. I think that they're proud to be Washington Nationals and it shows by them going ahead and avoiding [arbitration] and getting a deal done so they can concentrate and get ready for spring."

Zimmermann, 27, told Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore today, after the announcement of his 2-year/$24M deal, that buying out his final two years of arbitration-eligibility would allow him to concentrate on baseball.

"'I’m definitely happy,'" Zimmermann told the WaPost reporter. "'I think this means I can just focus on playing baseball and trying to win a World Series.'"

The two-year deal he signed today won't keep the right-hander and the Nationals from negotiating further on a long-term deal, however, at least according to the pitcher:

"'If a year down the road or after this season if there’s a long-term deal that works out for both sides, we’d be happy and willing to do it. This is just a small little deal that takes us away from the arbitration.'"

Veteran Washington Post columnist Thomas Boswell wrote on Twitter that the deals for Zimmermann and Desmond leaves the possibility of extensions open while also possibly making them more "tradeable":

New York Post writer Joel Sherman provided some of the details on the one-year deals the team signed today with Ramos and Storen:

Ramos, 26, played the 2013 on a 1-year/$501,250 deal. This was his first year of arbitration eligibility. Storen, also 26, avoided arbitration last winter when he signed a 1-year/$2.5M deal. Blevins, acquired from the Oakland A's this winter, avoided arbitration last winter when he agreed on a 1-year/$1.1M contract with the Athletics.

More info when it's available...

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