Clippard mum on how he'll fare in arbitration

If Nationals reliever Tyler Clippard has a sense of how his impending run through the arbitration process will unfold, he's keeping it close to the vest.

"I don't know, we'll see how it all plays out," the veteran right-hander said when asked if he expected to go to an arbitration hearing with the Nats.

Clippard has filed for arbitration and, since he wasn't able to reach an agreement with the Nationals, he and his representatives have exchanged proposed salary figures with the team.

The Nationals have submitted a proposed salary of $4.45 million, while Clippard has countered at $6.35 million, a difference of $1.9 million. Clippard made $4 million in 2013, when he went 6-3 with a 2.41 ERA and 0.59 WHIP in 72 games, the fourth straight season he's topped the 70-appearance plateau.

If the Nats and Clippard can't come to an agreement, the pitcher will have an arbitration hearing in February, and a three-person panel will decide on which salary he receives.

Asked if he was optimistic he could avoid a hearing, Clippard said, "Those discussions are all up to me, the Nationals, my agents and all that. Talking about it in the media does no good."

But he's at least paying close attention to what happens because it's the first time he's gone this far through what is sometimes a contentious process where teams take great care in pointing out every flaw in a player's game.

"It's part of the business and getting to this point in my career is something I've always wanted to do," Clippard said. "So in that aspect, it's enjoyable. But the business side of things - I like being a baseball player, I don't like being an agent or anything like that. So those type of things I leave up to them."

Earlier today, MASNsports.com's Dan Kolko got general manager Mike Rizzo's reaction to the impending arbitration hearings with Clippard and right-hander Doug Fister. Read Rizzo's comments here.

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