Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann recently shot down rumors that his representatives at SFX and the Nats were exploring a multiyear extension, and the pitcher expanded on that statement by telling Adam Kilgore and James Wagner of the Washington Post that he doesn't expect contract negotiations to get going until the offseason.
“We talked a little bit in Spring Training,” Zimmermann said. “My agent and I said once the season starts, we’re going to wait until after the season. Hopefully, we’ll maybe spring something up at the end of the season or going into next season or something."
It was rumored last winter that the Nationals were interested in locking Zimmermann up in a long-term agreement but the two sides instead just settled on a one-year, $5.35MM contract for 2013. Zimmermann, a Super Two player, still has two remaining years of arbitration eligibility and is eligible for free agency after the 2015 season when he is 29 years old.
MLBTR's Steve Adams recently speculated that a Zimmermann extension could take the form of a five-year, $60MM-$65MM deal. That said, Adams noted that "Zimmermann's case is unprecedented to some extent," and the right-hander could earn more given the new collective bargaining agreement and the fact that the Nationals (like every team) has more money to spend due to TV contract money. These factors could bump the value of a five-year deal up to the $75MM-$80MM range, not to mention the fact that Zimmermann has raised his own value by pitching like a Cy Young candidate thus far in 2013.
If Zimmermann was confident enough to put off long-term contract talks for now, it seems as if he's also confident in his current and future performance to only accept an extension on his own terms.
“I’d be interested, see what they have to say. At the end of the day, it’s got to be the right deal for me," Zimmermann said. "I’m not just going to take a deal that’s team friendly. It’s got to be fair."