The last unsigned National at this point is left-hander John Lannan.
Lannan filed for arbitration, as was his right based on service time, and his agents requested a 2012 contract worth $5.75 million. The club countered with an offer of $5 million. Lannan's 2011 contract was worth $2.75 million, so in essence, his representatives felt he was due more than a 100 percent raise based on his career-best numbers: 10-13, 3.70, in 184 2/3 innings of work over 33 starts.
It's not for me to say whether Lannan's worth what he's asking for, though the casual fan likely sees very little difference between an even $5 million and $5.75 million. That the two sides weren't able to reach a consensus means a hearing before an arbitrator - barring a trade - at which each side will present its case.
There's no middle ground at an arbitration hearing. Both sides get the floor to make their presentation, and the arbitrator picks one or the other.
It's that hearing that sometimes changes the relationship between a player and his team, particularly when it's the team that signed and developed the player. The Nationals drafted Lannan in the 11th round of the 2005 draft out of Siena College in New York. Lannan's a New York native - Long Beach, on the island - and it's been pretty clear to me in conversations with him that he enjoys playing in Washington, and can see what's coming down the road for the franchise. He's also a particular favorite of my wife, who grew up on Long Island and has a lot in common with Lannan. Plus, he's always been a quite willing guest on our MASN broadcasts.
At 27, Lannan is just entering his prime and got married in December. He's a legit middle to back-of-a-rotation starting pitcher. He'll make some money in this game. I wonder, however, given the rather short distance between the club's offer and Lannan's request, if this arbitration hearing will have a happy ending.