Eight Nationals players filed for salary arbitration last night, bringing us closer to the deadline for players and the team to reach terms on a contract for the 2014 season.
Jerry Blevins, Tyler Clippard, Ian Desmond, Ross Detwiler, Doug Fister, Wilson Ramos, Drew Storen and Jordan Zimmermann all officially filed for arbitration, which really was a procedural move. They had all been tendered contracts for 2014 in December, ensuring that they'll be with the Nationals this upcoming season. Yesterday's actions didn't change that.
This entire process is just to determine how much those eight players will be paid in 2014. No need to get too worked up about any of this.
The players and teams now have until this Friday at 1 p.m. to negotiate a salary for this year, otherwise they will formally submit the salary figures that will be put in front of an arbiter, who will independently make a ruling on the player's salary if the two sides cannot reach a deal. Those hearings come in February.
In reality, however, Friday's deadline is a soft one. Teams and arbitration-eligible players can still negotiate even after submitting their salary figures to the arbiter. They often just end up splitting the difference between what the player and team offered and finalize a deal.
Some teams choose to take a hard stance and stop negotiating after the deadline, meaning we'll see a lot of headlines about players agreeing to terms on contracts in the next 52 hours or so. The Nats typically don't play ball that way, but they have shown that they're willing to go to arbitration if they're unable to find common ground on a deal with a player that's up for arbitration.
It's a strange process, I know.
Really, this is one of the most overblown stories of the offseason. We know these guys will be Nationals next year. We know they'll all make a good bit of money. It's a matter of just determining how much money they'll earn, and monitoring whether there's any potential for bad blood between the team and a player because of a rocky negotiating process.
Teams and players can also avoid the arbitration process by agreeing to a multi-year deal, of course. Last year, the Nats agreed to a two-year contract with reliever Craig Stammen, buying out two of his arbitration years and locking him in at a set salary. Signing a player to a long-term contract is also a possibility, and as we've discussed numerous times, the Nats have had talks with Desmond and Zimmermann about such an arrangement.
The Nats have already agreed to terms with two of their arbitration-eligible players for this year - Stephen Strasburg and Ross Ohlendorf. Now they'll need to officially lock up the final eight.
Here are the salaries that MLBTradeRumors.com projects the eight remaining arbitration-eligible Nats to earn in 2014, with their 2013 salaries in parentheses:
* Jordan Zimmermann: $10.5 million ($5.35 million in 2013)
* Ian Desmond: $6.9 million ($3.8 million)
* Doug Fister: $6.9 million ($4 million)
* Tyler Clippard: $6.2 million ($4 million)
* Drew Storen: $3.6 million ($2.5 million)
* Ross Detwiler: $2.8 million ($2.337 million)
* Wilson Ramos: $2.1 million ($0.5 million)
* Jerry Blevins: $1.5 million ($1.1 million)