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Slaten is Nats’ lone non-tender

Dec 13, 2011, 2:18 AM EDT

US Presswire photo
Doug Slaten struggled this year and missed three months with an elbow injury.

The Nationals elected not to tender Doug Slaten a contract before tonight's midnight deadline, cutting ties with the left-handed reliever and making him a free agent.

The Nats did tender contracts to their six remaining arbitration-eligible players: Tyler Clippard, Jesus Flores, Tom Gorzelanny, John Lannan, Michael Morse and Jordan Zimmermann, according to a club official. All will remain in the organization and have until next month to negotiate 2012 salaries with the club or else exchange formal arbitration figures.

Slaten's non-tender didn't come as a huge surprise. The 31-year-old was remarkably ineffective when healthy this season, posting a 4.41 ERA, allowing 43 percent of batters he faced to reach base while also allowing 47 percent of runners he inherited to score. He also missed three months in midseason with an elbow injury.

With a $695,000 salary this season, Slaten would likely have been in line for a modest raise next year through the arbitration process. TheRead more »

  1. Anonymous - Dec 13, 2011 at 2:23 AM

    Still believe Lannan is trade bait and Gorzelanny is insurance. Stats don't lie and the Nats do appear to be following them fairly closely. Slaten was the third worst reliever after Balester and Burnett (another lefty). Gorzo was the best left-handed reliever and starter statistically. In other words: it was Gorzo who was mediocre the others were downright bad statistically … bad! Lannan was not 'steady' his stats too much like Slaten's: bad!

  2. wily Mo Petersen - Dec 13, 2011 at 2:34 AM

    Not that surprising Davey likes a lefty and righty long man in the pen. And $2.5 to $3 million is a lot for a long reliever, at least it shows the owners arent being cheap and are giving the coach what he wants. And if he pitches well he could be an insurance starter and/or pick up some of Strasburg's starts at the end of the year.I hope the sign Morse Zimmnn, and Clip to long term deals.

  3. Just wonderin' - Dec 13, 2011 at 2:46 AM

    Diamondbacks have non-tendered LH pitcher Joe Saunders. Should the Nats be interested?

  4. Constant Reader - Dec 13, 2011 at 3:00 AM

    Question Mark … why keep Slaten on the roster this long when his roster spot could have gone to either of the two players lost to Rule 5? Is there any rationale at all for it?

  5. Gonat - Dec 13, 2011 at 3:09 AM

    Just wonderin' said… Diamondbacks have non-tendered LH pitcher Joe Saunders. Should the Nats be interested? December 12, 2011 9:46 PM _______________________________Absolutely, he pitched 212 innings last year and could be a nice pickup. Can't understand why AZ wouldn't sign him and trade him.

  6. sjm308 - Dec 13, 2011 at 3:11 AM

    That is a really good question about why they kept Slaten so long. Mark, I am also wondering, as bad as he was, how are you sure he would have received a raise in arbitration. Is it a given that even if someone is awful, they receive a raise just for breathing? Can't wait to see how Rizzo fills out the 40 man roster.Go Nats!!

  7. sjm308 - Dec 13, 2011 at 3:20 AM

    Just got back from baseball reference.com. I really don't know what to look for in the stats section, but Saunders seemed to have a decent season last year and has 17 more wins than losses in his career. He had an era under 4 last year and threw 212 innings, starting 33 games. He must have been hurt the year before because he only started 13 games. He was scheduled to earn at least 5.5 million plus arbitration would have jacked that up I am guessing. It will be interesting to see if Rizzo goes after him. He is a local kid (if 30 can be called a kid) and I don't see how it would hurt us to at least kick the tires.

  8. Anonymous - Dec 13, 2011 at 3:21 AM

    That is a really good question about why they kept Slaten so long. Mark, I am also wondering, as bad as he was, how are you sure he would have received a raise in arbitration.Arbitration appears to be comparison based. Compared to the other LOOGY's used on the team he did okay. I believe the wait for he non-tender is part of the agreement with the Player's Assn. But they were also likely trying to trade him right up to the end. Decent left-handed relievers are rare. See Ron Vilone pitching into his 90's.

  9. whatsanattau - Dec 13, 2011 at 3:21 AM

    I believe (though am not certain) that the most likely explanation for why Myers and Komatsu were not given roster spots is they would have had to pass through waivers upon not making the team. Exposing them to rule 5 gives the team a chance to get them back. Exposing them to waivers loses them forever.Can anyone (cough Mark) confirm or deny?

  10. Water23 - Dec 13, 2011 at 4:06 AM

    Saw that Greinke left his rep. Maybe with Fielder leaving and Braun possibly out for fifty games, he is rethinking his decision to go with the Brew Crew.

  11. Gonat - Dec 13, 2011 at 4:08 AM

    whatsanattau, yes, if you put them on the 40 man and then removed them from the 40 man you are correct. Also a good chance the Nats get them back from the Rule 5.

  12. Anonymous - Dec 13, 2011 at 4:24 AM

    Exposing them to rule 5 gives the team a chance to get them back. Exposing them to waivers loses them forever.There is also a hidden potentially lucrative benefit: the team that chose them must put them on the major league roster, the 24-man. They cannot send them to the minors without offering them back. That means major league experience sink-or-swim. But with no risk to the Nats if they flounder initially. Unfortunately, Its very possible Meyers might not flounder. More likely to get injured than flounder. Still could mean returning to the Nats eventually.

  13. Anonymous8 - Dec 13, 2011 at 4:38 AM

    Anon, you have to get it right, it is a 25 man, not a 24 man.

  14. Nattydread - Dec 13, 2011 at 4:42 AM

    Good bye Mr. Slaten. Hope you have a better year in the team that picks you up and hope that team is not in the NL East.

  15. Drew8 - Dec 13, 2011 at 5:00 AM

    Saunders strikes me as an underwhelming option, but he would be coming home. He's from Falls Church and attended Virginia Tech.

  16. Mark Zuckerman - Dec 13, 2011 at 5:24 AM

    To answer some of your questions…I believe there's a provision that prevents arbitration-eligible players from being released prior to this non-tender date, which is why Slaten remained on the roster this long even though the Nats probably knew they wouldn't be bringing him back.As for whether he would have gotten a raise, almost all arbitration players do get salary bumps (it's one of the problems with the system). Even if a guy doesn't play one game or hits .087, they are required to get at least 80 percent of their previous year's salary. That said, the decision on Slaten (who made $695,000 this year) wasn't really about money but about the Nats not thinking he fit on the roster anymore.Finally, with regards to Meyers and Komatsu being left unprotected for the Rule 5 draft… the Nats didn't think either player was ready to be in the big leagues for a full season, so they were willing to take the risk. Even though both players were drafted, the Nats probably feel there's a reasonable chance they'll be offered back at some point before the year is up.

  17. Anonymous - Dec 13, 2011 at 5:24 AM

    B.J. Upton tendered by #Rays. No real surprise, but forget about #Nats scooping him up as a free agent. 22 minutes agoWhy? Seems like a good fit with the Nats. please gives us the scoop on this ?

  18. Mark Zuckerman - Dec 13, 2011 at 5:26 AM

    I meant forget about the Nats signing him as a free agent this winter. They could certainly go after him next year when his contract with the Rays expires.

  19. Anonymous - Dec 13, 2011 at 8:02 AM

    Anonymous8 said…Anon, you have to get it right, it is a 25 man, not a 24 man.Oh right thanks. New rules. 25 + 1. Getting like football.

  20. Sec 3, My Sofa - Dec 13, 2011 at 10:27 AM

    New? It's been 25 for many decades. Sometime during the mid-80s the teams tried going to 24 just by agreeing among themselves to do so, but it didn't stick.

  21. Sec 3, My Sofa - Dec 13, 2011 at 10:35 AM

    Cardinals didn't tender Ryan Theriot. Not just a useful utility IF, or a RH bat (albeit with no power–not really Davey's type), but how can you pass on adding another Ryan??

  22. Sec 3, My Sofa - Dec 13, 2011 at 12:38 PM

    Slaten is Nats' lone non-tenderDid anyone else see that and think "A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust, and a hearty 'HI-YO, SILVER!' It's The Lone Non- Tender!"

  23. Dawn - Dec 13, 2011 at 12:39 PM

    I don't know about the rest of you but if you are a MLB pitcher and have "mid-season elbow surgery", you haven't been and are most likely not going to be healthy at any point during that season. Wish Slaten the best.

  24. Constant Reader - Dec 13, 2011 at 12:45 PM

    Thanks Mark. Now it makes sense.

  25. Gonat - Dec 13, 2011 at 12:45 PM

    The Nats/Rizzo may have gotten lucky. 30 year old Springfield Virginia's own Joe Saunders was non-tendered. He fits that 200 inning guy averaging over 200 innings per year the last 4 years when you factor in post-seson numbers and here is his regular season stats: 198/186/203/212 innings respectively the last 4 years with a 3.69 ERA last year and he is a LEFTY!

  26. ehay2k - Dec 13, 2011 at 12:58 PM

    If he wants to come home again, all Saunders needs to to is slip a note with $4M written on it to Rizzo and say "I play for this."

  27. Theophilus - Dec 13, 2011 at 12:58 PM

    Notice that the Os didn't tender a contract to Luke Scott. He seems like exactly what Johnson is looking for on his bench and, if healthy, an upgrade over Nix. Wouldn't be at all surprised to see him playing in Washington this year.

  28. gonatsgo - Dec 13, 2011 at 1:07 PM

    Doesn't seem like we have many roster spots available to produce a decent bench. More trades coming? Results of this move seem sensible. Winter meetings, tendering deadline – what's the next milestone that comes up in the off-season? I am hanging on anything at all that is baseball related while I watch the counter slowly dip.

  29. Anonymous8 - Dec 13, 2011 at 1:11 PM

    Gonat – Interesting looking at the non-tenders. Great job on Saunders would be perfect for the Nats in that Buehrle vision. A lefty that consistently pitches 200 innings and he is younger than Buehrle and is a TRUE LOCAL!Theo – Luke Scott had a horrible 2011 and you have to wonder how much of it was from injury. Batting .220 with a .301 OBP may be hard to get around.

  30. Anonymous - Dec 13, 2011 at 1:12 PM

    Please, no to Luke Scott….

  31. Theophilus - Dec 13, 2011 at 1:13 PM

    Saunders looks like an older Lannan, which is not an endorsement. Every time the D'backs and Nats played I'd look at the probable starting pitchers and say, "This is a guy we should beat." Only plusses over Lannan are a few fewer walks, and he gets past the sixth inning. But not the sort of addition the Nats should be looking for.

  32. Theophilus - Dec 13, 2011 at 1:21 PM

    Yes, Luke Scott had a horrible 2011. Look at the previous six years. Give him a minor league deal and make him prove he's healthy. I'm only asking him to play 30-40 games a year in the outfield, 10 at 1B, DH 7-8 and pinch hit 60 times. About 220 PA.

  33. Harper_ROY_2012 - Dec 13, 2011 at 1:38 PM

    Any embers from the hot stove burning about what Rizzo will do with the 4 roster spots he has left? I know we need a starter and a CF, but any names being bandied about all I see is Cubs, Twins, Indians, Red Sox and Yankees rumors. Let's stoke thos flames, Mark!!!

  34. JamesFan - Dec 13, 2011 at 1:39 PM

    Get Saunders for the rotation and Aoki for center; spend the rest of the time strengthening the bench; extend Zim and Morse and call it a winter. Let's play ball.

  35. Anonymous - Dec 13, 2011 at 2:00 PM

    Gonat – Interesting looking at the non-tenders. Great job on Saunders would be perfect for the Nats in that Buehrle vision. A lefty that consistently pitches 200 innings and he is younger than Buehrle and is a TRUE LOCAL!Same deal as Buehrle. Now what do you do with Lannan? He is ostensibly penciled in as the #3 starter? There are Milone and Detwiler. Detwiler does not have any options left although I believe that Lannan does. But I don't think he would appreciate being a backup starter in AAA? Albeit, admittedly, given Johnson's implied strategy (more lefties to go against the Philllies and Braves) they could move Wang to the bullpen and go with a left-handed heavy rotation. But I don't think the strategy works if the lefties are all soft tossers. And the hard throwing left handed prospects are still a year or more away from the majors.

  36. Anonymous - Dec 13, 2011 at 2:02 PM

    I won't no part of Luke Scott. He is sitting somplace in his off-the-grid-NSA-aint-gonna-find-ME, bomb shelter surrounded by weapons, canned goods and posters of the Motor City Madman absolutely convinced that Barack HUSEINN Obama is behind the grand conspiracy to have him non-tendered by the O's.dfh21

  37. MicheleS - Dec 13, 2011 at 2:19 PM

    DFH21.. that made me laugh out loud!

  38. Ray - Dec 13, 2011 at 4:07 PM

    Woah, some strong opinions on Luke Scott. Apparently he has some political baggage I was unaware of — I agree that we don't need that kind of guy on this team. Was thinking of a replacement for Nix off the bench, who has some pop. But they've been the nutjob route (see Morgan, Nyjer) and it hasn't worked out so well. Withdraw my suggestion, please! :) I think I'd prefer Saunders to Oswalt, only because of age and health. I think Saunders would be really good here, better than in Arizona, where I had the impression he wasn't happy.

  39. Anonymous - Dec 13, 2011 at 8:42 PM

    Luke Scott is a birther loon. Pass.

  40. natsfan1a - Dec 13, 2011 at 9:13 PM

    Good luck to Slaten (even if I did sometimes get nervous when he came out of the 'pen).

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