The Nationals made official their agreements with six of their seven arbitration-eligible players Friday afternoon, announcing five of the previously reported deals as well as an agreement on a one-year pact with right-hander Tyler Clippard.
Clippard, who earned $1.65 million during his first time through the arbitration process, was in his second year of arbitration. Terms were not immediately disclosed for his contract for 2013. (UPDATE) CBSsports.com reported Clippard earned a $4 million settlement.
After the 2011 season, Clippard was able to bring his selection to the National League All-Star team to the negotiating table, along with the stats as one of the league’s best eighth-inning men.
This offseason he went into the process with 32 saves on his resume and proof of his versatility after he stepped into the void left by Drew Storen’s elbow injury and became the Nationals’ closer for much of the season. Both Storen and Clippard were supplanted in the closer role this week, however, when the Nationals signed Rafael Soriano. Clippard and Storen will likely both serve as set-up men to Soriano, though they may have the opportunity to finish games as well.
Jordan Zimmermann is the only remaining arbitration-eligible player the Nationals were not able to settle with before Friday’s deadline. The two sides will now file numbers with the league office with the player’s side filing one salary figure and the team filing another. An agreement can be reached up until the date of an arbitration hearing, and that agreement can be the salary for 2013 or a longer-term deal.
(UPDATE) According to CBSsports.com, Zimmermann filed at $5.8 million while the Nationals filed at $4.6 million. It’s not unbelievable to think they may be able to find common ground before a hearing.
The Nationals explored a multi-year contract with Zimmermann after the 2011 season but opted instead to settle on a $2.3 million salary for the 2012 season. Zimmermann took significant steps last season, his first entirely unrestricted year after 2009 Tommy John surgery.
Zimmermann continued to build his resume last year with a 2.94 ERA and a 12-8 record this season. He was one of the Nationals’ most consistent starters, not pitching less than six innings in a game until August, and he rebounded from a less-than-stellar postseason start with an electric relief appearance in the Nationals’ must-win Game 4 of the NLDS.