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Zimmermann, 7 others file for arbitration

Jan 14, 2014, 7:32 PM EDT

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Eight Nationals players filed for arbitration this evening, a procedural step toward determining their 2014 salaries.

Right-handers Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister, Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard, left-handers Ross Detwiler and Jerry Blevins, shortstop Ian Desmond and catcher Wilson Ramos all officially filed paperwork, according to the MLB Players’ Association.

Those players and the Nationals must submit competing salary figures on Thursday, figures that ultimately would be presented before an arbitration panel during hearings next month.

The two sides are free to continue negotiating and agree to terms on their own at any point between now and the February hearings, and most cases are settled without ever going to arbitration.

The Nationals previously agreed to terms with two other arbitration-eligible players: Stephen Strasburg ($3.975 million) and Ross Ohlendorf ($1.25 million).

Players are eligible for arbitration when they have accrued 3 to 6 years of major-league service time, plus a handful of players with fewer experience (referred to as “Super 2″ players).

  1. Eugene in Oregon - Jan 14, 2014 at 7:52 PM

    While I assume the Nats will reach agreements with all eight of these players, the one about whom I have to wonder just a bit is Ross Detwiler. It will be interesting to see what Mr. Detwiler seeks. But it will be even more interesting — and telling — to see if the Nats’ offer to him relects a starter’s salary or something less (i.e., a reliever’s or some sort of in-between figure). As with John Lannan a couple of years ago, the Nats may well foreshadow their expectations and intentions with their offer.

  2. David Proctor - Jan 14, 2014 at 8:09 PM

    John Buck signed with the Mariners for $1M. I don’t think a backup catcher is as important as some are making it seem, and I don’t think Buck is all that good, but for $1M it seems like a move the Nationals probably should have made. Oh well.

    • David Proctor - Jan 14, 2014 at 8:36 PM

      Actually maybe not. Per MLBTR:

      “He has rated positively in terms of blocking pitches in the dirt, but has been ranked among the worst pitch framers in the game. Indeed, according to StatCorner (hat tip to Dave Cameron of Fangraphs), Buck came in dead last among all catchers in framing last year, costing the Mets over 20 runs.”

      Keep in mind Boz reported that Rizzo soured on Suzuki because of his poor pitch framing. Buck was obviously not a fit. Interestingly, Chris Snyder graded out highly on that pitch framing report.

      • nats128 - Jan 14, 2014 at 9:26 PM

        When did Boz say that?

      • veejh - Jan 14, 2014 at 10:23 PM

        I’m praying Ramos can make it through the whole season without an injury.

      • scbilly - Jan 15, 2014 at 11:37 AM

        I think Boz said it in his chat two or three weeks ago.

      • zmunchkin - Jan 15, 2014 at 12:02 PM

        Here is a link to the chat question where Boz said it.

        http://live.washingtonpost.com/ask-boswell-131230.html#Moves-at-the-ma

    • sjberke - Jan 15, 2014 at 3:45 AM

      We don’t know that the Nats didn’t make Buck an offer, and maybe a higher one than Seattle’s. Buck quite evidently made his decision on the basis of playing opportunity not money. Unless Ramos gets hurt again (and Buck wasn’t going to sign on the assumption that he will) the backup catcher or catchers will start 30-40 games at the very most. Buck has a much better opportunity in Seattle, where the current starting catcher came up last year and has all of 56 major league games under his belt.

  3. David Proctor - Jan 14, 2014 at 10:03 PM

    Nats 128,

    Boz said that in his chat a few weeks ago. I posted it here when he said it, though I don’t remember the exact dates. He said Rizzo has internal metrics that showed Suzuki was actually taking some pitches that should be strikes and pushing them out of the zone into balls. Ramos is a much better framer.

    • nats128 - Jan 15, 2014 at 7:45 AM

      Thats interesting. That was a major debate point after “Game 5″ and most people said that was garbage with regards to Suzukis framing. Sounds like theres something to it however as a backup you would think Rizzo is okay with Suzuki.

  4. philipd763 - Jan 14, 2014 at 11:17 PM

    I suspect we can count on Wilson Ramos spending significant on the DL this season as he always has in the past. If so, the motley crew of backup catchers Rizzo has accumulated will end up biting him in the butt.

    • David Proctor - Jan 14, 2014 at 11:59 PM

      In 2012, Jesus Flores batted .213/.248/.329 with a .577 OPS. We won 98 games that year. Chris Snyder owns a career .224/.328/.382 line with a .710 OPS. Even if you’re not a believer in Snyder (his last season with significant playing time, he batted .176/.295/.308 with a .603 OPS–still better than Flores), that production is easily replaceable.

      But I’m also the rare person who thinks Ramos can stay healthy. I don’t think he’s injury prone, I just think he rushed back from the ACL and that put too much pressure on his legs–hence the hammy issues. We shall see.

  5. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 15, 2014 at 12:35 AM

    michael mckenry the fort is a free agent.

  6. Section 222 - Jan 15, 2014 at 12:42 AM

    Oh please. Flores was so bad in 2012 that Rizzo needed to find a replacement (Suzuki) at the trade deadline. Suzuki was effective down the stretch, playing over 40 games for us. So I think it’s fair to say that the Nats would not have won 98 games if Flores had remained the primary backup (and therefore the replacement) for Ramos. Certainly, the fact that we survived in 2012 with a lousy backup catcher for much of the season is not a reason to forgo filling that with a better option than we have now, if Rizzo can find one.

    Even if Ramos stays healthy, he’s not going to catch more than 125 games. We need someone to catch the other 37, or more if he gets hurt. Solano started 10 games last year and had an OPS of .368 for the year. Can’t we do better?

    • unkyd59 - Jan 15, 2014 at 5:48 AM

      I still think there’s a difference between expectations for backup vs. a replacement. If WR has an extended DL stay, we’ll prolly have to upgrade. Some here (not you, Deuces), seem to regard not having two starting quality backstops as a definite fail… I think that’s overacting. Willie is a young, big , strong fella… I wanna see him show up trim and flexible, and never look back…

      • Eugene in Oregon - Jan 15, 2014 at 8:28 AM

        Exactly.

  7. edshelton2013 - Jan 15, 2014 at 7:35 AM

    Can someone explain “pitch framing”? Isn’t this subjective? I’m reading here that Suzuki and Buck are poor at framing while Ramos is good. Is there an objective metric for this?

    • nats128 - Jan 15, 2014 at 7:53 AM

      Its very much like judging UZR which has some subjectivity to it. I went back to read old Game 5 posts and as someone explained alot of the art of framing is anticipating where the called pitch will end up and Suzuki wasnt good at that at the most crucial times as he moved his glove down to receive balls low in the zone and yanked it up versus having the glove at the anticipated spot and gently moving the glove up to frame it. Nobody will ever know if that was the difference maker. Debate rage on.

      I always thought it was catcher laziness. May be there is more to it than that.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Jan 15, 2014 at 8:32 AM

      There are some methods/websites that try to measure a catcher’s effectiveness in ‘framing’ a pitch (which I define as selling a pitch outside the strike zone to the umpire as a strike). I’ll defer to others as to how objective or subjective these metrics are. NatsLady?

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Jan 15, 2014 at 4:39 PM

      Framing is an effort to convince an ump that a given pitch is a strike, when it’s at best borderline; by definition, a subjective event, since the strike zone is, for all practical purposes, subjective. Not to mention that the umpire’s idea of where the ball was is likewise less than objective, and so you have the catcher trying to second-guess where the strike zone is on any given pitch, where the catcher guesses the ump will perceive the pitch to have crossed the plate, all of which is compared to the catcher’s own guess as to where the pitch will wind up crossing the plate (or not). Now add to that the fact that framing, as such, gets on some umpires’ nerves, so, like arguing calls, he has to be aware of how much he thinks he can afford to do with that ump.

      So yeah, it’s subjective.

      IMO.

  8. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jan 15, 2014 at 4:45 PM

    Certain kinds of motions of the catcher’s mitt are easier for the ump to perceive. Turning a mitt over, to face palm up, almost always results in a ball called, regardless. It just LOOKS lower. A good catcher will move the mitt, when possible, in line with the ump’s line of sight, and not across his field of vision, to the extent possible, just because it’s (slightly) less noticeable.

    Framing is a subtle skill, and it helps to know an umpire’s tendencies, just like it helps to know a hitter’s personal tendencies.

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