Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Lannan's case heard, Durbin signs minor deal

US Presswire photo
John Lannan is seeking $5.7 million; the Nats countered with a $5 million offer.
The Nationals and John Lannan went to arbitration today, the two sides arguing their cases before a three-judge panel in St. Petersburg, Fla., a source present at the hearing confirmed.

This was the first of potentially 24 arbitration cases to be heard this spring, though most teams and players tend to come to terms on their own before reaching the courtroom.

Lannan is seeking a $5.7 million salary this season; the Nationals countered with an offer of $5 million. He made $2.75 million in 2011. A ruling is expected tomorrow.

The 27-year-old left-hander went 10-13 with a 3.70 ERA in 33 starts last season, setting career highs in wins and ERA. Over a four-plus year career with the Nationals, he's 38-51 with a 4.00 ERA.

Arbitration salaries are determined based on multiple seasons' worth of stats, with comparable players serving as reference points for the eventual salaries.

Lannan was the only one of the Nationals' seven arbitration-eligible players to go to a hearing this winter. The club previously came to terms with Gio Gonzalez, Michael Morse, Jordan Zimmermann, Tom Gorzelanny, Tyler Clippard, Jesus Flores.

The last time the Nationals took any players to arbitration was in 2010, when the club defeated both left-hander Sean Burnett and right-hander Brian Bruney.

In other news, a club source confirmed the Nationals have signed veteran reliever Chad Durbin to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training. Durbin, 34, is 38-46 with a 5.10 ERA in 364 career games with the Royals, Indians, Diamondbacks, Tigers and Phillies.

The right-hander will face long odds to crack the Nationals' Opening Day bullpen, but he could provide depth at Class AAA Syracuse and be called upon in case of injury at the big-league level.

46 comments:

Rob Wilfong said...

It is a sign of progress that we can read about the Durbin signing, say "who cares?," and move on in our lives without giving this another thought.

baseballswami said...

It's been twelve whole minutes and no one has yet suggested that Lannan should be sent down to single A Potomac because he is the worst pitcher in the history of Major League Baseball. I am shocked. I agree on the Durbin signing - yawn.

Chris T. said...

I think Durbin could be a real "diamond in the rough". His ballbark adjusted fPAP is 2.82, which would make him one of the better set-up guys in the league. Driving that point home, his net-neutral ERA+ indicates that he was one of the unlikier guys around in terms of having batters hit them where his fielders weren't. I'd take him over Yuny Maya or some of other bullpen backfill.

Sunderland said...

Good for John-boy. Imagine being in a position where if things don't go your way, you get $5M. That's awesome.

David said...

why couldn't they come to an agreement? i wonder if management was trying to send a message that Lannan is not part of the future.

Gonat said...

I think Lannan wins unless there is some precendent. I can't imagine the Nats would even put up much of a fight since they were so close. Then again, Rizzo could present a few posts from here on Lannan and he could lose. (Joking of course)

upperdeck4 said...

It is kind of bizarre that they are fighting over $700,000 in the context of 5 million.

NatinBeantown said...

Agree with Chris T. in that Durbin could turn out to be useful. His 5+ ERA last year was scorned on the previous post, but it looks like a lot of that was bad luck, with a .339 BABIP and 13% HR/FB. It's possible he's a perfectly servicable injury callup.

NatinBeantown said...

upperdeck4,
I'd say a 15% difference in salary expectations is worth a fight now and then. But I hear what Sunderland's saying, it would be nice to have a disagreement with my boss about whether I should get an 82% raise this year or a 107% raise.

Eugene in Oregon said...

David and upperdeck4,

Remember that the two numbers put forward to the arbitration panel ($5.7m and $5m) are not necessarily the numbers the two sides were discussing privately prior to the filings. One side (or both) could easily have been pushing a more extreme amount, but once it came to putting the number in writing for the panel that side (or both) opted for a more reasonable figure. If the Nats were crystal clear about their 'file and trial' approach this may NOT have been the case, but if you had a team that was willing to bargain after the numbers were submitted, that would be a quite reasonable strategy.

gonatsgo said...

If you have not yet read the full SI story of Ramos' kidnapping - click the link to the article to the right under the countdown, which will lead you to the link of the article - it's pretty long and detailed. I don't think I blinked while I was reading it - it's pretty intense. I highly recommend that you read it.

blovy8 said...

I think the Nats win this one, but it's not like they don't have 20 million they might have used this year lying around.

JaneB said...

I shared gonatsgo's reaction to the SI article on Wilson's kidnapping. Riveting. Scary. Read it.

Anonymous said...

I am gonna bet that the club wins against Lannan. Just about 4 years of service time, reliable innings guy with only one year of higher level ERA, etc. $5M seems about right, for whatever my dumb guess is worth.

Phils inking Chad Qualls for not much money, Juan Cruz going on a minor league deal, and Coffey being out there along with Mike Gonzalez and some other guys . . . makes me think that bull pen arm trade value might not be so very high right now. It looks like Rizzo's going to move some pitcher from the roster, not sure what he's going to get in return unless he's willing to move Storen or Clipp.

dfh21

baseballswami said...

Anon - hush your mouth. Storen and Clip stay.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how long this arbitration thing takes? Is it just the one day or do they deliberate for a long time like the PED board?

Sunderland said...

Most arbitration panel decisions are announced within 24 - 48 hours. An announcement tomorrow would not surprise me.

Anonymous said...

Swami -- I'd trade either Storen or Clippard for a player like Span, wouldn't you? Back end of the pen arms can be found, top of hte order great glove CFs not so much.

dfh21

baseballswami said...

Anon- disagree most heartily. Isn't Span the guy with post-concussion syndrome? Back of the pen maybe not so easy. Especially Storen - at the beginning of his career, cheap and under team control. At some point though,if we have the opportunity for the right cf Clip could bring us something good. I guess I don't look at them as being in the same category.

SonnyG10 said...

I got a feeling the club wins this one also. Even if Lannnan loses, $5 mil is a nice pay raise.

Unkyd said...

Not Span. No. Nice player, but concussions are scary, and unpredictable. I know, prolly without that uncertainty, you don't get that top of the order, great glove for any relief pitcher, but I'm not making any desperation moves, right now...and trading elite talent for damaged goods is desperate. Look at Sydney Crosby. I guess I don't disagree, in very broad, very general principle, but Span is perhaps a poor example....

Theophilus said...

"$5 mil is a nice pay raise" -- espec. when compared to what he actually deserves.

Durbin's WARAWARAPORN not withstanding, he's the sort of pitcher, when announced into the ball game, batters tuck napkins under their chins and ask for A-1.

SCNatsFan said...

Unkyd, I don't think the comparison of Span and Crosby is apt; the chances of Span hitting his noggin again significantly are miniscule in comparison. The cautionary tale would be Morneau; still, all concussions aren't created equal so if the medical staff did its due diligence and Span passed I wouldn't shy away from getting him, the question is at what price.

N. Cognito said...

David said...
"why couldn't they come to an agreement? i wonder if management was trying to send a message that Lannan is not part of the future."

Perhaps one of the parties wanted and talks to include a contract extension and the other party did not. It's not always just an exercise about betting the other party or splitting the difference.

NatStat said...

Hmmmm.....$131mm for JWerth, sign a sore armed pitcher for $15mm, and a 1B guy that can't play for $16mm, but let's quibble over $700k for Lannan.

Rizzo continues to forlornly demonstrate the old addage, 'penny wise and pound foolish'.

Maybe Rizzo's ersatz frugality is supposed to impress the Lerners with his super skills with managing money. Some how I don't think that they'd be that impressed.

Wally said...

From previous post, Steve M said ...I think Mark DeRosa could be one of the single biggest contributors to this 2012 team in terms of positive impact.

I think that is the bench guy to root for, as things currently stand. Seems unrealistic to expect Cameron, at his age and performance over the last few years, and Bernie, with over 1,000 ABs at mid .600 OPS, to be productive hitters. Here is to hoping that Derosa is finally healthy, and still young enough to give us 200 quality ABs. But why we are in this bench position doesn't make sense, so I mostly am hoping for another move or two.

I went back and re-read Mark's inaugural post, and was smiling to see so many current posters blogging on that original post. I was even surprised to see that I posted back then, although I came in as Anon, and signed the bottom as 'WallyBall'. Really can't remember why I chose that (a dumb takeoff on Wally World is my best guess), but I am sure that it took me a while to realize that I could sign in with a name without having to create a full blog profile. Not the savviest computer guy.

But re-reading that made me want to give a shout-out to JayB. Dude, I seriously appreciate the passion.

Gonat said...

Wally, Mark DeRosa has been to the Post-season 6 years and 5 of those years made an impact. Not sure how Steve means DeRosa's impact will be felt but I'm hoping in a Cody Ross way.

There always needs to be an XFactor type of guy be it David Eckstein, Cody Ross, Pedroia, or David Freese.

The Nats need an unexpected guy to lift them. They are going to be close.

Wally said...

Gonat - I assumed he meant it as a positive impact, and if he can get back to 2009 levels, he'll do well. But he is 37, has had 200 ABs due to injury the last two years, and averaged around .600 OPS in those ABs.

He definitely was good before the wrist problems, and I think it was a good idea to take a flier on him. But my disappointment is that he is our BEST bench guy. I am all for the unexpected guy to step up, but I really think we could use one or two guys who are actually expected to contribute based on recent performance. But this seems pretty unambiguous, and Rizzo is no dummy, so I still think there is a better than 50/50 chance the bench sees a decent addition before the team heads north.

Unkyd said...

SCNatsFan said...
Unkyd, I don't think the comparison of Span and Crosby is apt; the chances of Span hitting his noggin again significantly are miniscule in comparison. The cautionary tale would be Morneau; still, all concussions aren't created equal so if the medical staff did its due diligence and Span passed I wouldn't shy away from getting him, the question is at what price.
-----------------
Thanks Fan... That's pretty much my point. The medical science of concussions seems to be just realizing how incomplete it is. Span is not a player you trade value for, at this point. He's worth way more to his current team, as far as I'm concerned, until he spends a year or two with no unusual headaches.

I guess I'm a little paranoid....

Anonymous said...

BMUSTNILDH

Anonymous said...

I'd trade either Storen or Clippard for a player like Span, wouldn't you?

He's just not that good ... trading either Storen and Clippard for Span would be considered really, really STUPID on the Nats part? Sometimes I wonder ...

Rizzo isn't about to do anything like that unless its for Borjos, Upton or strange chance amazing luck: McCutchen.

Why do you want to go back for Nyjer Morgan? For Nieves? That's the kind of stuff I keep hearing ... its downright depressing. The Nats aren't that desperate for a body to fill that hole? Sheeeeeesh!

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm.....$131mm for JWerth, sign a sore armed pitcher for $15mm, and a 1B guy that can't play for $16mm, but let's quibble over $700k for Lannan.

Or just maybe what they really saying is that he might be worth the 1 million they paid Livo and honestly Livo did more for this team than the younger Lannan did the 3 years he was here? For 1 million? Look what Zimmermann made last year? And he, by leaps and bounds, was their best starter. Statistically everyone including Maya were better. The best left-handed starter statistically was Gorzelanny. And everyone couldn't believe they didn't non-tender him? Most people do not know anything about baseball other than what they read in the funny papers.

D'Gourds said...

I wonder how much both sides have to pay the lawyers and three judge panel for the arbitration hearing? Probably makes the $700,000 difference seem a lot smaller. It's a shame and frankly surprising that it had to come to this. It's hard not to hold a grudge when you lose.

Doc said...

Unkyd your instincts are very real and appropriate, and not the result of paranoia.

In fact the due diligence of the neurologists is medically short of ruling out any subsequent sequalae of post-concussive syndrome. A concussion causes brain damage. Brain damage does not disappear, or heal like a cut on your finger.

Not wishing to denigrate the status of Denard Span but, like one of my favorite Canadian ball players Justin Morneau, his playing status may never be the same. For sports fans this is all very sad, but true. Span, Morneau, and Crosby all have been amongst the very best of professional athleticism.

Neuro-science just at the beginning of understanding head injury, and much of our research understandings will hopefully come from the sport of football.

lesatcsc said...

"Hmmmm.....$131mm for JWerth, sign a sore armed pitcher for $15mm, and a 1B guy that can't play for $16mm, but let's quibble over $700k for Lannan."

You do realize that your argument works both ways? You assume it's Rizzo quibbling over .7M; it takes two to quibble. Lannan obviously wasn't willing to settle for .7M less just as Rizzo wasn't willing to pay .7M more than he feels is market value. So, that's what they have arbitration for. One will win and one will lose and no one will be hugely upset either way. But you don't just give away $700,000 just for fun, just as you don't pass on it if you think you might get it from an arbitrator. It's not a question of Rizzo being penny wise and dollar foolish, it's a question of Rizzo responsibly managing the team and using all the tools at his disposal to do so. Really dude, it's not emotional, it's business.

I like Lannan and think he takes too much heat at times. That said, IMO $5M is already stretching his value. I wouldn't have offered him that. Obviously Rizzo has a better idea of what an arbitrator may award. At almost $6M for Lannan Det starts looking a lot better to me; I would definitely be looking at moving Lannan if he starts earning near $6M a year if something decent can be had in return.

Drew said...

BoldAnon -- It's good for 31 loads (of ...)

In case of eye contact, flush with water. Do not swallow. Keep out of reach of children.

Legal disclaimer: Anon compos mentis.

Anonymous said...

.7 million might not make THAT much difference to the Nats, but it could be of significance to a small market team they were trying to work a trade with.

N. Cognito said...

NatStat said...
"Hmmmm.....$131mm for JWerth, sign a sore armed pitcher for $15mm, and a 1B guy that can't play for $16mm, but let's quibble over $700k for Lannan.
Rizzo continues to forlornly demonstrate the old addage, 'penny wise and pound foolish'."

Please provide us the details of the negotiations between Lannan and the Nats, since you obviously seem to know them well enough to lay blame on Rizzo.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure that you can read into the club going to arb over $700K as them being Pound foolish. It's a system and a bunch of clubs are in the same boat with their players. The Yanks are looking to save $500K here or there some years too.

dfh21

Gonat said...

Next time Span dives for a ball and his head bops up and down his symptoms may come back. It is a major risk and besides the Twins seem content to go with him.

Rabbit said...

These guys just simply amaze me. There is no logic or justification in the salaries they get. Any sane employer wouldn't double the salary of any employee who was a loser. He would probably fire him.

Tcostant said...

Here is the link to the si.com article on Wilson Ramos noted above.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1194466/index.htm

natsfan1a said...

fwiw, there's also a link under the pitchers and catchers countdown (at 17!), in the CSNWashington headlines.

Ray said...

My question for Beltway Baseball: What's the latest on Rick Ankiel? What are the chances he returns to the Nats? I believe he is an upgrade to the Cameron/Bernadina platoon the team is currently looking at.

Sunderland said...

Rabbit, it isn't insane, it's a system negotiated between the MLBPA and MLB, and it is a union contract just like plumbers, teachers and plenty others have. It values length of service tremendously, which is pretty common. A player who has his first seven season be completely identical will see little to no raise during the first three years, then really big raises years 4 - 6, and then level off. And firing an employee your competitors would quickly snatch up is goofy. And if the Nats fired every pitcher who pitched for them who completed the season with a losing record, they would have a hard team filling out a roster.

Water23 said...

Any truth to the rumors that Lannan is on the Block?

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2012/02/nationals-aggressively-shopping-john-lannan.html

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