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Update: Zimmermann, Desmond get 2-year deals

Jan 17, 2014, 11:40 AM EDT

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Updated at 1:25 p.m.

With the deadline to submit competing arbitration figures to Major League Baseball looming this afternoon, there is likely to be a flurry of activity from the Nationals over the next several hours.

Sure enough, the Nationals have agreed to terms with five of their seven arbitration-eligible players so far today: Jordan Zimmermann and Ian Desmond, who each got 2-year deals; plus Drew Storen, Wilson Ramos and Jerry Blevins, who each signed one-year pacts to avoid arbitration.

The Nationals still have two other arbitration-eligible players, who they hope to sign before today’s 1 p.m. deadline, when both sides must submit competing offers to MLB headquarters: Doug Fister and Tyler Clippard.

In getting Zimmermann to sign a 2-year, $24 million contract right now, the Nationals ensured they won’t have to go through this process again next winter. Zimmermann will earn $7.5 million in 2014, then $16.5 million in 2015, a hefty raise that will make him the second-highest paid player on the roster behind Jayson Werth. He’s still eligible to become a free agent after the 2015 season, though the Nationals remain interested in locking him up with a long-term extension. Negotiations on that front have stalled, but the two sides could resume them anytime they choose.

Like Zimmermann, Desmond is eligible for free agency after 2015, and the Nationals have discussed a long-term deal with him. For now, the shortstop settled for a 2-year, $17.5 million contract that buys out both of his arbitration seasons. Desmond will earn $$6.5 million in 2014 and $11 million in 2015, according to a source familiar with the terms.

Storen agreed to a 1-year deal that will pay him $3.45 million this season. The contract also includes up to $1 million in incentives, with Storen earning the full bonus if he finishes 60 games in 2014, according to sources.

Ramos, meanwhile, gets a 1-year, $2.095 million contract, with incentives that would pay him an extra $105,000 based on plate appearances, according to sources.

Blevins, acquired in a trade with the Athletics last month, agreed to a 1-year, $1.675 million deal.

Check back for updates on the other two players as the 1 p.m. deadline approaches…

  1. zmunchkin - Jan 17, 2014 at 11:43 AM

    This certainly sounds like a good setup/interim deal while they work out a long term extension. I wonder if they agreed on this in order to buy time for a long term deal.

  2. pdowdy83 - Jan 17, 2014 at 11:44 AM

    That $16.5mm last year seems like the team offering Jordan some good faith. That is a HUGE jump and to me it looks like they are into more serious discussion about a longer term extension in the ballpark of that $16.5mm per season. If the team were to keep the $7.5 for 2014 and then 5 more years at $16.5mm it would be a 6 year $90mm deal which seems reasonable.

    • pdowdy83 - Jan 17, 2014 at 11:44 AM

      That should have said $16.5mm NEXT year not last year.

    • originalnatsfan - Jan 17, 2014 at 11:58 AM

      sure hope you are right.

    • Hiram Hover - Jan 17, 2014 at 12:04 PM

      I think he’s much more likely to take his chances on the open market than accept $66M/4 for those first FA years.

      He’s been pretty vocal (if JZimm can be said to ever be vocal about anything) that he wants to get market value. He’s already got the $24M for the next 2 years, and $66M/4 is not free market value.

      There is of course the risk of getting injured or having a bad year and getting little or nothing if he waits 2 years. But when you look at what mediocre pitchers are getting (I’m looking at you, EJax), I’m guessing he’ll take the risk.

  3. bowdenball - Jan 17, 2014 at 11:59 AM

    I think you folks may be reading this wrong. This deal tells me there’s no extension forthcoming and Zimmermann’s quotes in the Kilgore writeup seem to confirm that.

    If an extension was in the works it would have to get done this winter. Zimmermann will have very little incentive to deal next year if he’s already in line for $15 million for the 2015 season and then free agency beyond that. And it sounds like they’ve basically given up on a deal this winter.

    • Hiram Hover - Jan 17, 2014 at 12:05 PM

      +1.

    • zmunchkin - Jan 17, 2014 at 12:08 PM

      Hard to know for sure one way or another. But the amount of money in year 2 significantly diminishes his trade value next winter (as Kilgore’s article points out). For that reason alone I think it is reasonable to assume that they will continue to work on a long term deal.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Jan 17, 2014 at 12:28 PM

        I’m not sure it diminishes it that much. Given what one year of Edwin Jackson or Dan Haren was worth to Rizzo, I can easily imagine a contender who needs one more good starter not balking at paying a pro-rated share of that for Znn at some point in 2015.

      • bowdenball - Jan 17, 2014 at 12:35 PM

        The amount of money in year two tells me they plan on contending next year and therefore have no reason to even consider the possibility of trading him away. Especially since he will almost definitely be good enough at that point to merit a qualifying offer and thus a draft pick in return if he signs in free agency.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Jan 17, 2014 at 12:38 PM

        “The amount of money in year two tells me they plan on contending next year and therefore have no reason to even consider the possibility of trading him away.”

        I don’t understand. There was any doubt they planned on contending?

      • zmunchkin - Jan 17, 2014 at 12:47 PM

        Sec 3, since, as you point out, they plan on contending in 2015, they likely won’t be trading him mid-season. Any trade will almost certainly be next offseason. And FA pitchers typically don’t get nearly the return in prospects for a one year deal, especially an expensive one.

      • natsfan14 - Jan 17, 2014 at 12:52 PM

        Any concern that by backloading the money to 2015 it makes it more likely JZimm gets dealt next offseason if a long-term deal with the Nats can’t be reached

    • jd - Jan 17, 2014 at 12:29 PM

      I agree. I am not so sure how motivated the Nats are in giving JZimm a long term mega deal given the need to do the same for Strasburg likely as soon as next year.

    • bowdenball - Jan 17, 2014 at 1:00 PM

      Sec 3, My Sofa – Jan 17, 2014 at 12:38 PM said:

      “I don’t understand. There was any doubt they planned on contending?”

      Of course not. But zmunchkin tried to tie the $16.5 mil 2015 salary to a conclusion that they are still looking for a long term deal because it makes him harder to trade. I don’t see a scenario where they’re trade him regardless of his salary. They want him in the rotation to start 2015. If everything goes to hell they could trade him late in the year, but then the salary is less of an issue anyway. And since I’m sure he’ll be good enough for a QO I assume they’d just stand pat and take the draft pick compensation instead of whatever they’d get in a deadline trade.

      • zmunchkin - Jan 17, 2014 at 1:23 PM

        Perhaps you misread or I misstated my point. The year 2 amount is way more than he would get by doing a one year deal this year, and going through this process again next year. Given that no one gives away money for no reason, is is reasonable to believe that the Nats think a long pager term deal is possible (not guaranteed). If they were convinced he was going the FA route, they likely would have rolled the dice on arbitration for next year.

        Bottom line is that only time will tell.

      • bowdenball - Jan 17, 2014 at 1:36 PM

        Sorry zmunch, but I just don’t see the connection between the larger than expected year 2 amount and a potential deal. In fact, I kind of think the opposite. I think both sides are resigned to Zimmermann going to free agency so they agreed on a two year amount and then moved the bulk of in to 2015 because the Nats take Soriano and LaRoche off the books after this season and it helps them in the short term financially. They probably threw in a little extra cash for Zimmermann to enable that. As I said they won’t be trading Zimm in their competitive window so there was no reason for the Nats not to do this. Just my guess, but I do know that once 2014 passes, Zimmermann already being in line for $16.5 million for 2015 gives him very little incentive to extend. Generally a raise over arb-influenced salaries in the short term is part of the bargain that convinces players to forgo free agency.

        Contrast that with Desmond’s deal, which is right in line with what you might expect in arbitration this year and next year. That changes nothing about his negotiations IMO.

      • Hiram Hover - Jan 17, 2014 at 1:46 PM

        zmuch

        He was projected to get $10-11M this year via arb or agreement, and if he has a decent year would get a raise on that next year.

        So $24M for the 2 years is certainly not “way more” than what he would have gotten without this deal (in fact, I predicted $23-25M for the two years a few days ago).

      • zmunchkin - Jan 17, 2014 at 2:45 PM

        Bottom line is that there are parts of JZ’s deal that could allow for any possible interpretation. My initial view was that this deal might mean a long term deal is on the table still. There are any number of possible interpretations, like:

        – the team wants to buy time to see how the kids (Solis, Meyer, Giolito) in the minors develop so they can decide how important JZ is long term
        – buys time to see if Stras continues to improve
        – the team wants to avoid a contentious arbitration hearing next year
        – since the year 2 money is likely more than (or around what) the value of a Qualifying Offer will be, perhaps this makes it harder for JZ to get another/better offer. So the team rolls the nice with no plans for a longer extension. And, at worst, they get an extra first round pick.

        The nuances of this agreement can be spun either way.

  4. Section 222 - Jan 17, 2014 at 12:28 PM

    Wait, so our ace gets $3.975 million, with incentives that might reach $4.15 million, and a guy who was drafted the same year and isn’t even our best reliever gets $3.45 million, with incentives that could reach $4.45 million?

    That’s messed up.

    • jd - Jan 17, 2014 at 12:31 PM

      Sec222,

      It’s all about service time.Don’t worry about Stras. If he puts it all together he needs only to look at the money Kershaw got to know what’s in store.

      • NatsLady - Jan 17, 2014 at 1:06 PM

        Stras is fine. He got big bonus money, plus endorsements and autograph deals. He can get more endorsements if he wants (which he probably doesn’t). Storen isn’t much known outside of the DMV. Interesting on the finishing 60 games…Well, there are 162 games to finish. This is going to be fun to watch if Storen and Soriano both stay healthy and productive.

    • natsjackinfl - Jan 17, 2014 at 12:37 PM

      Not when you consider that Drew got to the Nats earlier and didn’t lose a season plus toTJ surgery.

    • tcostant - Jan 17, 2014 at 2:08 PM

      That is baseball. Players with less service time get paid less. If your good enough, you get WAY overpaid towards the end of your free agent contract.

  5. Steady Eddie - Jan 17, 2014 at 1:00 PM

    Two year $17.5 million deal for Desi.

    • NatsLady - Jan 17, 2014 at 1:15 PM

      Doesn’t seem like enough for Desi. Was hoping for longer.

  6. micksback1 - Jan 17, 2014 at 1:07 PM

    they must be convinced Storen is back to his 2011 form

    did Desi sign?

  7. philipd763 - Jan 17, 2014 at 1:07 PM

    The Nats are probably over-paying him during his last two arbitration years and he can still walk after 2015 which it appears he intends to do unless offered a Kershaw type contract. I don’t see this conract doing much for the Nats

  8. NatsLady - Jan 17, 2014 at 1:08 PM

    #Nationals and Wilson Ramos avoided arb. He gets $2.095M plus chance to make $105,000 in PA bonuses. Per Joel Sherman.

  9. micksback1 - Jan 17, 2014 at 1:08 PM

    these are all good news and moves by Rizzo, getting JZim for 2 more seasons is a very good move

  10. micksback1 - Jan 17, 2014 at 1:09 PM

    excellent news!!!

  11. NatsLady - Jan 17, 2014 at 1:09 PM

    The Nationals have agreed to sign shortstop Ian Desmond to a two-year, $17.5MM extension that will buy out his final two years of arbitration, according to MLB.com’s Bill Ladson (Twitter link). Desmond is a client of Scott Boras. Desmond will earn $6.5MM in 2014 and $11MM in 2015, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

    • Jw - Jan 17, 2014 at 1:19 PM

      When did Desmond become a Boras client? He didn’t use to be.

      • bowdenball - Jan 17, 2014 at 1:48 PM

        Has to be a mistake re: Desmond and Boras. I’ve never seen the two linked, and no salary website or google search links them now. Maybe Sherman got confused because Boras represents Zimmermann.

      • bowdenball - Jan 17, 2014 at 1:51 PM

        Actually JZimm is an SFX/Relativity client.

        See how easy it is to get confused on this stuff?!

  12. NatsLady - Jan 17, 2014 at 1:11 PM

    That is going to be some payroll in 2015. You have to assume ALR and Soriano are coming off. Or at least, Rizzo figures they are.

  13. micksback1 - Jan 17, 2014 at 1:13 PM

    thank you NL!

  14. NatsLady - Jan 17, 2014 at 1:18 PM

    Rizzo is being very cautious. I don’t see any overpays and two years is the longest he’s handing out. Makes you wonder what he’s saving the money for–2014 or 2016?

  15. NatsLady - Jan 17, 2014 at 1:19 PM

    This from Kilgore. Rizzo is having a busy day.

    Adam Kilgore ‏@AdamKilgoreWP 4m
    Nats knock out Jerry Blevins’ deal, too. Fister and Clippard remain.

  16. nats1924 - Jan 17, 2014 at 1:23 PM

    Signing these players during their Arb years is huge!

    Zuckerman, correct me if I’m wrong — but I remember years ago, ”06-’09 we never siged the majority if our Arb players and pretty much went to the hearings.

    This says something about the Lerner family — Great owners!

    Go Nats!

    • zmunchkin - Jan 17, 2014 at 1:26 PM

      The Nats used to be one of the file and trial teams. Not anymore.

  17. NatsLady - Jan 17, 2014 at 1:26 PM

    For those of you not on Twitter but with radios—

    Washington Nationals ‏@Nationals 7s
    #Nats Manager Matt Williams will be on @1067thefandc with @funnydanny and @granthpaulsen at 1:30 p.m. Tune in!

  18. micksback1 - Jan 17, 2014 at 1:26 PM

    very impressed, Dan Snyder take note, this is why you hire a real GM and let him/her run it!

    • Joe Seamhead - Jan 17, 2014 at 7:05 PM

      Boy, have you changed your tune since last year! Welcome back, Mick.

  19. NatsLady - Jan 17, 2014 at 1:44 PM

    I don’t think Desi and JZ wanted to sign away their FA years without a no-trade clause. And Rizzo’s not going to give them that, ergo, buy out the arb years so you know what your costs will be and worry about it next year when you have a better idea if Harper will sign a 9- or 10-year deal, and whether Stras will become a Cy Young pitcher.

    • jd - Jan 17, 2014 at 2:08 PM

      Huge payroll in 2015. But by then you not only have LaRoche and Soriano off the books but you start to see what you have in Jordan, Roark, Cole and even Giolito. If worse comes to worse you lose JZim free agency for a draft pick.

      They do on the other hand have to find a way to lock up Desi long term.

      • NatsLady - Jan 17, 2014 at 2:11 PM

        Absolutely agree on all your points.

  20. langleyclub - Jan 17, 2014 at 1:46 PM

    Really interested in finding out how the Clippard and Fister negotiations broke down.

    Would be particularly interested in dsicovering the Nats’ offer to Clippard and Clippard’s offer to Nats and compare them to the Nats/Storen deal. Clippard had demonstrably better year than Storen in 2013, but outside of Mariano Rivera and Craig Kimbrell relievers are not very predictable, and Clippard’s stuff is not epic, but Clippard’s numbers in 2013 were really strong. Think that 2014 will be Clippard’s last as a Nat.

    Do not like the fact that Fister’s first experience with the Nats will be hearing them argue to an arbitrator that he is not worth as much as Fister thinks that he is. Hope that he has thick skin.

    • jd - Jan 17, 2014 at 2:05 PM

      langleyclub,

      who says there will be a hearing?

      more often than not numbers are exchanged and the parties split the difference.

    • NatsLady - Jan 17, 2014 at 2:05 PM

      Don’t have to assume they are going to arb because they exchanged numbers. JZimm waited until the last minute before signing last year.

    • Steady Eddie - Jan 17, 2014 at 2:08 PM

      They didn’t necessarily “break down” — it could just mean they ran out of time before the deadline.

      Even so, filing arbitration figures doesn’t mean they actually go to arbitration. The team can cut a deal with the player at any time prior to the hearing, even after filing. And I recall they’ve done that a few times.

  21. shawndc04 - Jan 17, 2014 at 2:05 PM

    That tv deal has got to be resolved in light of the increasing payroll.

    • tcostant - Jan 17, 2014 at 2:11 PM

      I couldn’t agree more. It’s just a thorn that we need to deal with before we walk upright, like everyone else.

  22. sjm308 - Jan 17, 2014 at 2:06 PM

    Are we sure they are going to arbitration. I realize the deadline was 1pm but I imagine there are deals done before then and not announced till later. If they are in arbitration, I agree that its not one of my favorite parts of the season seeing our players and front office going at each other. I do believe though that after the figures are exchanged, they can still come to an agreement before actual arbitration so there is that.

    • Steady Eddie - Jan 17, 2014 at 2:09 PM

      Yes — they can still cut a deal any time before the arbitration hearing.

    • jd - Jan 17, 2014 at 2:10 PM

      sjm,

      Absolutely. In fact I guarantee you they will settle this before the hearings. They always do.

    • tcostant - Jan 17, 2014 at 4:09 PM

      Rizzo in the past has said once figures are exchanged, he’ll see you at the hearing. So while the rules allow for you to strike a deal prior to the hearing, Rizzo has refused to do that. I assume he doesn’t like dealing with a player’s figure and a team figure.

      • natsjackinfl - Jan 17, 2014 at 6:02 PM

        Oh really? What about Zimmermann last year?

        I believe John Lannon is the only one to go to arbitration with Rizzo.

      • unkyd59 - Jan 17, 2014 at 8:58 PM

        That’s the first I’ve heard of that, tcostant….

  23. sjm308 - Jan 17, 2014 at 2:07 PM

    If I really wanted to go to our site, I think I owe a bunch of people imaginary drinks

  24. NatsLady - Jan 17, 2014 at 2:09 PM

    Have no idea what Fister’s issue is, except that he’s new to the team, and new to RIzzo. It could be that Rizzo is trying for a Gio-type deal and that takes longer.

    Clip’s issue is that he’s due around $6.5MM in arb, and that’s a lot to pay for a non-closer. And you have to doubt he will have a chance to close games with both Storen and Soriano having incentives in their contracts for finishing games. Rizzo may have to get creative with Clipp–and you know he doesn’t like to give mult-year deals to relievers.

    • Faraz Shaikh - Jan 17, 2014 at 2:21 PM

      Clippard is the only reliever on our team I would give multi-year deal. Actually one of very few relievers in the game.

      • NatsLady - Jan 17, 2014 at 3:24 PM

        Well, you know I agree with that. I hope Rizzo does.

    • Jw - Jan 17, 2014 at 4:50 PM

      Really? Then why did he give Stammen a two year deal last year? Why did he give a two year deal to Soriano when he didn’t even really need him in the first place?

      You know what Rizzo really doesn’t like doing? Broadcasting his moves in advance and/or being in any way predictable.

  25. zmunchkin - Jan 17, 2014 at 2:51 PM

    In case anyone is interested, here is a list of the FA pitchers that JZ will be competing with for contracts in 2016.

    http://www.spotrac.com/free-agents/mlb/2016/starting-pitcher/

    As of now one would have to say he is in the top tier, but probably NOT the most sought after.

    • Faraz Shaikh - Jan 17, 2014 at 3:01 PM

      Besides Price, I cannot name any other pitcher as definitely better than JZ from that group.

      • zmunchkin - Jan 17, 2014 at 3:27 PM

        I agree that Price is the only guy who, at this point, is clearly better. That is why I said JZ would be top tier, but not the most sought after – that would likely be Price.

        There are a few in the list who one might be able to argue will be comparable to JZ. Samardzija, Cueto, Latos, Medlin all have relatively positive upsides. And are all about JZ’s age.

      • tcostant - Jan 17, 2014 at 4:11 PM

        Expect Price to be traded and then signed before he hits free agency. Either this year or next…

  26. David Proctor - Jan 17, 2014 at 2:54 PM

    I’m not sure why people think this means anything as far as an extension goes, one way or the other. They were never going to get something done before arbitration. It was very unlikely it’d be done before Spring Training. During ST is when we’d probably expect something. This really means nothing at all, imo, except that if we’re unable extend, we’ll at least have some financial certainty for next year and not have to go through the arb process with them.

    • David Proctor - Jan 17, 2014 at 3:02 PM

      Actually, reading JZimm’s quotes, sounds like he doesn’t want to negotiate anymore until next year–at which point it’d be impossible to lock him up. Desi has made no such statement. Hmm.

      • bowdenball - Jan 17, 2014 at 3:34 PM

        Exactly. I think it’s the terms taken together with Zimmermann’s comments to Kilgore that leave you doubting there will be an extension.

      • David Proctor - Jan 17, 2014 at 3:35 PM

        I’ve always sort of felt JZimm would walk and Desi would be locked up. I believe that more now.

  27. masterfishkeeper - Jan 17, 2014 at 3:00 PM

    I certainly hope that the Nats are able to extend both Desmond and Zimmermann, but it’s worth remembering that the Nats will certainly make qualifying offers to both, should they not be able to do so.

    It will be interesting to see what the remaining free agents who received qualifying offers end up getting in free agency. There are quite a few still out there.

  28. nats128 - Jan 17, 2014 at 4:25 PM

    Hooray for Wilson Ramos

  29. Eugene in Oregon - Jan 17, 2014 at 4:39 PM

    I’m not sure the Nats are still considered a ‘file and trial’ team; I know at one point in the not-too-distant past they were, but haven’t they moved beyond that and made several post-exchange-of-figures deals?

    In any case, I’ve got to believe that the Doug Fister contract will be resolved over the next month and I wouldn’t be surprised to see another two-year deal a la Jordan Zimmermann and Ian Desmond.

    As for Tyler Clippard, I recognize there are questions about how much you may a non-closer, but — again — I can’t imagine the Nats going to an arbitration panel and making the kinds of negative arguments they made when they went to ‘trial’ (not the best term) with John Lannan. Something will be worked out, I feel certain.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Jan 17, 2014 at 4:40 PM

      “…how much you PAY a non-closer…” Sorry for the typo.

    • jd - Jan 17, 2014 at 4:44 PM

      I agree.

    • zmunchkin - Jan 17, 2014 at 5:48 PM

      I agree on Clip. And I think the Nats have settled post filing at least once in the last couple years.

      I think Lannan was the last guy they went to the hearings on, and they won that after the 2011 season. Here is an article about that and it does say that they used to be file and trial, but Lannan was the first hearing since 2010 (i.e., for the 2009 season).

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/nationals-journal/post/nationals-win-arbitration-hearing-over-john-lannan/2012/02/02/gIQALXvbkQ_blog.html

      And on MLB Hot Stove this morning Ken Rosenthal listed the known file and trial teams: Rays, Blue Jays, Braves, White Sox, Reds, Pirates, and Marlins.

  30. David Proctor - Jan 17, 2014 at 6:29 PM

    Per MLBTR:

    “Braves GM Frank Wren says that his club will take its arbitration case to a hearing with the club’s three remaining arbitration-filing players, reports David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (via Twitter). Wren says that the club will not have any further negotiations with closer Craig Kimbrel, first baseman Freddie Freeman, and outfielder Jason Heyward.”

    That’s a great way to treat your young stars, Braves.

  31. David Proctor - Jan 17, 2014 at 6:43 PM

    Jon Heyman ‏@JonHeymanCBS 8s
    Fister files at $8.5M, nats $5.75M

    MLBTR projected 6.9M. They’ll end up settling for around $7M.

    • Hiram Hover - Jan 17, 2014 at 7:03 PM

      That’s quite a gap for Fister.

      The Braves, by the way, are ridiculous. Heyward asked $5.5M, they offered $5.2M – and they’re really going to go to arbitration over that?

      • David Proctor - Jan 17, 2014 at 7:10 PM

        It’s a pretty big gap, but the midpoint is exactly where MLBTR projected. I haven’t seen Clippard’s numbers posted yet. I’d be interested in seeing what he wants as a setup guy.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Jan 17, 2014 at 8:10 PM

      My hope/expectation is that they’ll end up with a two-year, $15ish million contract.

      • David Proctor - Jan 17, 2014 at 8:19 PM

        That sounds low to me. He’s due for 7M this year plus a raise next year. I think something along the lines of 2 years/17-18 mil is more likely.

      • Eugene in Oregon - Jan 17, 2014 at 9:20 PM

        That’s why I put the ‘ish’ in; I’m less interested in or focused on the salary than the two-year contract.

  32. Eugene in Oregon - Jan 17, 2014 at 8:09 PM

    Assuming the Braves stay true to their word not to settle, the Craig Kimbrel arbitration panel is going to face a very interesting decision. The Braves have reportedly offered $6.55m, while Mr. Kimbrel has asked for $9m. His stats actually ‘broke’ (their word) the MLBTR projected-salary model; the number it produced was $10.2m, which they felt was so high for a reliever that they had to create a special ‘Kimbrel rule’ and reduce their projection to $7.25m.

    By failing to settle somewhere in the $8m range, the Braves risk: (a) alienating Mr. Kimbrel and his agent with their presentation to the panel (i.e., ‘here’s why Craig isn’t worth what he thinks he is’), and/or (b) losing the hearing, because Mr. Kimbrel’s stats support a much higher salary than $6.55m (again, the beauty of the ‘choose the number that most closely reflects demonstrated value’ arbitration system). Couldn’t happen to a better team.

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