The Washington Nationals announced today that they'd avoided arbitration by agreeing on deals with three Nats, starter Jordan Zimmermann and relievers Tom Gorzelanny and Tyler Clippard. The Nationals had previously signed catcher Jesus Flores to a one-year deal and inked Gio Gonzalez to a contract extension. That took care of five of the seven arbitration-eligible Nationals, leaving OF/1B Michael Morse and left-hander John Lannan as the only unsigned Nats. According to CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS), who was Tweeting the numbers filed before today's deadline to do so, the Nationals offered Morse, who's coming off a .303/.360/.550 breakout campaign, $3.5M while the player's side filed at $5.0M dollars. Lannan, 27, finished the 2011 campaign (10-13) with a 3.70 ERA, 4.28 FIP, 5.17 K/9 and 3.70 BB/9 in 33 games and 184.2 IP. The lefty filed at $5.7M according to CBSSports.com's Mr. Heyman, while the Nationals filed at $5.0M even.
(ed. note - "We'll change the poll later, up first it's LANNAN vs THE NATS!! Who wins the arbitration battle!?!?! VOTE BELOW... Feel free to argue in the comments...")
Lannan, an '05 11th Round pick by the Nationals in their inaugural draft class, saw his salary jump from $458,000 to $2.75M dollars in his fifth MLB season in 2011 after he avoided arbitration by agreeing on a deal on January 17th. Morse, in his seventh campaign with Washington, played more games in 2011 than he had previously in any year at the major league level, appearing in 146 games and making 575 plate appearances. Morse signed a day after Lannan last winter, agreeing to a 1-year/$1.05 million dollar deal after having made $410,000 in 2010.
Does Lannan get the $5.7 he's looking for? $3.5 for Morse? Or $5.0 million? The Nationals haven't had an arbitration case since the winter of 2010 when they came out on the winning-end of hearings with both left-hander Sean Burnett and right-hander Brian Bruney. Will the Nationals' two-case winning-streak be challenged, or will both players agree on deals before heading into arbitration?