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Nationals Have Eight Arbitration-Eligible Players, One Real Decision

The deadline to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players is at 11:59 PM EST tonight. The Washington Nationals have eight players eligible for arbitration this winter, but the only real question for the Nats is whether or not to tender a contract to Ross Ohlendorf...

Drew Hallowell

Ross Ohlendorf, 31, signed a one-year, minor league contract with the Washington Nationals last January. The veteran of six seasons in the majors started his ninth campaign as a pro, after being selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 4th Round of the 2004 Draft, at Triple-A Syracuse in the Nats' system. The 6'4'' right-hander, working with an old-school delivery he started using this year, had a 4.22 ERA, 3.49 FIP, 30 walks (3.62 BB/9) and 71 Ks (8.56 K/9) in 14 games, 13 starts and 74 2/3 IP for the Nationals' top affiliate in 2013. In 16 games and seven starts for the Nats this past season, Ohlendorf was (4-1) with a 3.28 ERA, 4.03 FIP, 14 walks (2.09 BB/9) and 45 Ks (6.71 K/9) in 60 1/3 IP. projected a $1.3M salary for Ohlendorf in 2014 if the Nationals and the veteran right-hander go to arbitration. Ohlendorf is one of eight players the Nationals have to make a decision on before tonight's 11:59 PM EST deadline to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players. Ohlendorf is the only one of the eight who is being talked about as a potential non-tender candidate.

• Here are the Nats' eight arbitration-eligible players with's projected 2014 salaries in parentheses:

  1. Jordan Zimmermann - ($10.5M)
  2. Ian Desmond - ($6.9M)
  3. Tyler Clippard - ($6.2M)
  4. Stephen Strasburg - ($3.9M)
  5. Drew Storen - ($3.6M)
  6. Ross Detwiler - ($2.8M)
  7. Wilson Ramos - ($2.1M)
  8. Ross Ohlendorf - ($1.3M)

Zimmermann and Desmond have been talked about as extension candidates this winter, though in his conversation with's Bill Ladson last week, Nats' GM Mike Rizzo declined to offer much information on the ongoing talks with the starter or the Nationals' shortstop.

In his fifth MLB season, Zimmermann, 27, was (19-9) with a 3.25 ERA, 3.36 FIP, 40 walks (1.69 BB/9) and 161 Ks (6.79 K/9) in 213 1/3 IP over which he was worth +3.6 fWAR. Desmond, 28, had a .280/.331/.453 line with 38 doubles, 20 HRs and 21 stolen bases in 158 games and 655 PAs over which he was worth +5.0 fWAR. Zimmermann avoided arbitration last winter when he signed a 1-year/$5.35M deal with the Nats. Desmond too avoided arbitration and signed a 1-year/$3.8M contract last January.

Will Zimmermann and Desmond get their rumored extensions done this winter? Will the Nationals tender a contract to Ohlendorf or allow the journeyman-ish righty to become a free agent? They could, of course, allow him to become a free agent and then sign a new deal rather than pay what he might get through arbitration.

Updates when available throughout the day....