Zimmermann, a core piece of the Nationals’ future, seemed like a strong candidate for a multi-year extension, similar to the five-year deal the Nationals reached with lefty Gio Gonzalez on Sunday. The Nationals’ one-year agreement with him does not preclude them revisiting a potential long-term deal with Zimmermann this offseason.
Zimmermann, who will turn 26 in May, went 8-11 with a 3.18 ERA over 161 1/3 innings last year, his first full season back from Tommy John surgery. The Nationals limited him to roughly 160 innings as he completed his recovery from the operation, and this year he will be able to pitch a full allotment of innings.
Gorzelanny went 4-6 with a 4.03 ERA in 2011, his first season in Washington after the Nationals acquired him in a trade with the Chicago Cubs. He began the year as the Nationals’ fifth starter and finished in the bullpen, where he made 15 appearances as a reliever. He figures to begin 2012 as a long reliever capable of starting in a pinch.
Update: The Nationals have also avoided arbitration with Tyler Clippard, reaching a one-year agreement with the right-handed reliever. Clippard, who turns 27 in February, emerged as one of the most valuable relievers in baseball last year. He made the all-star team and struck out 104 batters in 88 1/3 innings with a 1.83 ERA.
The Nationals still must reach settlements with John Lannan and Michael Morse in order to avoid arbitration with them.