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Jordan Zimmermann stands to earn a big raise either way through arbitration.
Zimmermann is seeking a salary of $5.8 million; the Nationals have countered with an offer of $4.6 million, according to CBSSports.com.
The right-hander was the only one of the Nationals' seven arbitration-eligible players not to come to a deal before tonight's deadline. Drew Storen ($2.5 million), Ian Desmond ($3.8 million), Ross Detwiler ($2.3375 million), Tyler Clippard ($4 million) and Roger Bernadina ($1.215 million) all agreed to one-year deals. Craig Stammen, meanwhile, signed a two-year deal worth a total of $2.25 million.
Whether he wins in arbitration or not, Zimmermann stands to earn a hefty raise from his 2012 salary of $2.3 million. Entering his second of four arbitration seasons -- he qualified as a "Super 2" player last winter -- Zimmermann is coming off a breakthrough year in which he went 12-8 with a 2.94 ERA in 32 starts.
The 26-year-old and the Nationals still could negotiate a contract on their own before an arbitration hearing is held next month. The two sides also could continue to discuss a long-term extension, something general manager Mike Rizzo has expressed interest in accomplishing.
Terms of a potential long-term deal could eclipse the five-year, $42 million contract Gio Gonzalez received last winter following his acquisition from the Athletics.