The Nationals won their arbitration case against left-handed starter John Lannan, the team learned this morning, meaning Lannan will receive a raise to $5 million rather than the $5.7 million he requested.
Lannan, who made $2.75 million last season, went 10-13 with a 3.70 ERA in 2011. He became the eighth player the Nationals have taken to arbitration, and the first since 2010, when the Nationals won cases against relievers Sean Burnett and Brian Bruney. They have won six of their eight cases.
“The process of salary arbitration is built to help the two sides bridge a gap. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to do that prior to a hearing,” said Lannan’s agent, Brodie Van Wagenen of CAA Sports. “Neither side took this personally, and both sides presented very professional cases. John has a great deal of respect for the Nationals organization and it is clear that the Nationals have a mutual respect for John. As the highest-paid pitcher on the team now, John will be ready and excited to earn his salary in 2012 by making a meaningful contribution to the Nationals this season.”
The Nationals have had more than their share of arbitration hearings, a byproduct of their “file-and-trial” policy. Several teams use file-and-trial, which means teams make the filing day a hard deadline to go to a trial.
The Nationals did not use file-and-trial last season, and it’s unclear if they went back to it this season. But they had little contact with Lannan’s representatives at CAA Sports, and the gap between $5 million and $5.7 million should not have been difficult to bridge.
Lannan’s case was the first that went to a hearing this winter. Since 2010, there have been 12 arbitration hearings in baseball, and the Nationals have been involved in three of them, more than any team in baseball.
Wednesday night, after a panel of three arbitration judges heard each side’s case in St. Petersburg, Fla., Rizzo emphasized that the often-contentious process would have no bearing once the season begins.
“John Lannan knows it’s not personal, that this is a business decision,” Rizzo said. “Once we get to spring training, this is in the past. I spoke to John, and he told me he’s raring to go. After tomorrow, this is behind us. No hard feelings at all.”