Arbitration is messy, even if a contract dispute is ultimately settled without it.
During this past offseason, Tim Lincecum asked for a whopping $21.5 million in salary arbitration, just below Roger Clemens' record request of $22 million in 2005. The San Francisco Giants countered with an offer of $17 million, the highest arbitration offer ever made by a team. The two sides settled the dispute without arbitration, agreeing to a two-year deal worth $40 million, excluding the signing bonus.
San Francisco may have won the battle by avoiding arbitration, but Tim Lincecum won the war. The $18 million in the first year of the deal is more than the Giants offered, and the $22 million in the second year of the deal is more than he requested.
To avoid this tense and costly scenario, the Washington Nationals must sign both of these players to long-term deals before they become eligible for arbitration.