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John Lannan is seeking $5.7 million; the Nats countered with a $5 million offer.
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.