Zimmermann, Gorzelanny bypass arbitration, agree to terms

The Nationals scratched two more names off their list of arbitration-eligible players this morning, agreeing to terms with left-hander Tom Gorzelanny and right-hander Jordan Zimmermann on 2012 contracts.

The deals were announced on the Twitter feed of the team’s public relations department. Gorzelanny received $2.7 million, while Zimmermann got $2.3 million.

The 29-year-old Gorzelanny, acquired in January from the Cubs for three minor leaguers, was 4-6 with a 4.03 ERA in 30 appearances, including 15 starts in his first season on D.C. He made $2.1 million last season and this would have been his third go-around at arbitration.

While he probably won’t have a place in the Nationals’ rotation for 2012, Gorzelanny could carve a niche for himself as a long man out of the bullpen and a spot starter. Manager Davey Johnson wants to carry both left- and right-handed long men, and Gorzelanny posted a 2.42 ERA out of the bullpen last year.

The 25-year-old Zimmermann went 8-11 with a 3.18 ERA in 26 starts last season, his first full campaign after Tommy John ligament replacement surgery in August 2009. He worked 161 1/3 innings and didn’t pitch after Aug. 28 as the Nationals sought to limit his innings and protect his surgically repaired right elbow.

Zimmermann was arbitration-eligible for the first time and, as a Super Two based on service time, gets an extra year of arbitration. It wouldn’t be a surprise for the Nationals to eventually sign him to a long-term extension, adding him to a rotation that will include Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez through at least 2016.

The Nationals have three remaining arbitration-eligible players - left-hander John Lannan, right-hander Tyler Clippard and first baseman/outfielder Michael Morse. Teams have until today at noon to exchange salary figures with their arbtration-eligible players, with hearings scheduled for February in St. Petersburg, Fla., if no accord is reached. All three, however, remain under team control.

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