The Washington Nationals resolved their final arbitration case on Thursday with a panel of three arbiters ruling in their favor after John Lannan’s hearing Wednesday in St. Petersburg, Fla. Lannan will make $5 million for the 2012 season. He had filed at $5.7 million.
The Nationals have a very good record in arbitration hearings, now having won six of the eight they’ve taken to trial.
Lannan, who made $2.75 million in 2011, was due for a significant raise whichever way the arbiters ruled but when the two sides couldn’t come to an agreement on the left-hander’s salary prior to the Jan. 18 deadline to submit arbitration figures they appeared destined for a hearing. Once the case goes to trial, there is no chance at a middle-ground settlement; arbiters will choose one or the other. In this case, the Nationals were victorious.
“The process of salary arbitration is built to help the two sides bridge a gap,” Lannan’s agent, Brodie Van Wagenen said in a statement. “Unfortunately, we weren’t able to do that prior to a hearing. Neither side took this personally, and both sides presented very professional cases.
“John has a great deal of respect for the Nationals organization and it is clear that the Nationals have a mutual respect for John. As the highest-paid pitcher on the team now, John will be ready and excited to earn his salary in 2012 by making a meaningful contribution to the Nationals this season.”
The Nationals had seven players eligible for arbitration and they settled with Tyler Clippard, Tom Gorzelanny, Jordan Zimmermann and Jesus Flores prior to the deadline and worked out extensions with Michael Morse and Gio Gonzalez. Morse’s extension bought out his two remaining arbitration years and Gonzalez’s contract runs through the 2016 season with options for 2017 and 2018.
Lannan, who was 10-13 with a 3.70 ERA in 33 starts last season and is expected to compete with right-hander Chien-Ming Wang and left-hander Ross Detwiler for the Nationals’ fourth and fifth rotation spots this spring — with one of the three shifting to the bullpen as a long reliever. Lannan made strides in 2011, beating the Philadelphia Phillies for the first time in his career and winning 10 games for the first time as well. It was the third time in four seasons that Lannan started 30 games, threw over 180 innings and posted an ERA under 4.00.