Jan 17, 2012, 12:00 PM EDT
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Michael Morse's breakthrough 2011 will earn him a considerable raise in 2012.
When it comes to arbitration-eligible players (ie. those with at least three years of big-league service time but less than six) clubs always face a dilemma around this time of winter. Do they come to terms with these players on one-year contracts? Do they take their cases to the independent arbitration panel? Or do they attempt to lock up some of these players to long-term extensions now?
In some cases, the answer is simple. It made all the sense in the world for the Nationals to hammer out a five-year, $42 million extension with Gio Gonzalez over the weekend. Yes, they're taking some risk in guaranteeing that money to a 26-year-old pitcher with only two strong big-league seasons on his resume. But if Gonzalez stays healthy and productive, the Nats will probably save money in the long run while also ensuring one of the better, young hurlers in the sport remains in their uniform through at least 2016.
Other cases are less clear-cut. Take, for example, Michael Morse. What should the Nationals do with him?
On one hand, Morse is coming off a breakthrough season in which he led the club with a .305 average, 31 homers and 95 RBI and ranked fourth in the NL with a .550 slugging percentage, all while earning aRead more »
NL EAST STANDINGS
THU: Diamondbacks at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
FRI: Giants at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Giants at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Giants at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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