Ryan Zimmerman Rumors

Nationals Notes: Zimmerman, Rendon, Strasburg, Harper

It's time for some Nationals notes, courtesy of Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.

  • "I think I want to play third base until someone is better than me at it," Ryan Zimmerman explained to Kilgore.  The topic comes up because last year's first-round draft pick Anthony Rendon is a third baseman by trade, and if Zimmerman were to be extended, someone would have to change positions if Rendon proceeds to the Majors and is not traded.  On Rendon specifically, Zimmerman said, "If he comes up and plays third and plays second or whatever, then I’m going to be his best friend there. In the end, he’s going to help us win games. That’s the most important thing."
  • Rendon is in big league camp because of his draft contract, but Kilgore thinks he may begin his pro career at Class A Potomac.  The Nationals intend to play Rendon at third base, second base, and shortstop, at least during spring training, but manager Davey Johnson downplayed the extra infield positions, according to Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com.  Rendon was deferential to Zimmerman in his comments.
  • The Nationals intend to use Stephen Strasburg until he hits his innings limit and then shut him down, GM Mike Rizzo told reporters.  There's an expectation of a 160-inning cap, and Rizzo doesn't seem to be considering a six-man rotation or skipping Strasburg's starts.  I imagine skipping Strasburg starts while he's in good health could upset some fans who buy tickets specifically to watch him pitch.
  • Super prospect Bryce Harper says he intends to "keep my mouth shut and play," but certainly aims to make the team out of spring training.  Kilgore mentions Super Two considerations for the team, and it's worth noting that the new collective barganing agreement will result in more players getting that designation than in years past.
  • A potential Mike Cameron replacement will come internally, said Rizzo.  Mark DeRosa could play right field if Jayson Werth is in center, while Jason Michaels and Brett Carroll are in camp in minor league deals.  Roger Bernadina may have a leg up as an out of options player, in my opinion.  Here's MLBTR's full list of players who are out of minor league options.

Quick Hits: Prospects, Soler, Zimmerman

Yahoo's Jeff Passan presents the projected 2012 payroll for every MLB team, from the Yankees ($204MM) to the Pirates ($46MM). Those two clubs are currently working on a trade and, oddly enough, the Pirates would be the ones absorbing salary. Here are tonight’s links…

Quick Hits: Zimmerman, McCutchen, Cespedes, Sano

MLB has announced that Tony La Russa will manage the NL team during the All-Star Game in 2012, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). La Russa retired from managing earlier this offseason, but he'll continue the tradition of the pennant winning managers from the prior year managing the two All-Star clubs. Here's the latest from around the league…

  • Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post reports that Ryan Zimmerman is open to a creative contract extension that would allow the Nationals to build a strong team around him. "We want to do a deal so it helps me and the team at the same time, so they can go out and sign guys like Prince Fielder or other free agents," said Zimmerman. Fielder is off the table now, and the Nats know what it'll take to sign their star third baseman long-term.
  • "Never say never," said Pirates GM Neal Huntington to Jeff Nelson and Jim Memolo of MLB Network Radio when asked about a potential Andrew McCutchen trade. "If someone wants to back up the truck and give us one of those organization-altering deals, it's something that we'd have to listen to…It would have to be a dramatic overpay on the part of the other club."
  • The Nationals consider Yoenis Cespedes a corner outfielder or even a first baseman, reports MLB.com's Bill Ladson (on Twitter). Earlier today we learned that Cespedes has gained residency in the Dominican Republic, and now awaits MLB's approval to become a free agent.
  • The Indians are "making the necessary moves to get [Robert Hernandez Heredia] to the United States," reports the AP (via ESPN). Heredia, better known as Fausto Carmona, faces a judicial process in the Dominican Republic after lying about his identity.
  • Twins top prospect Miguel Sano has changed representation according to SI.com's Melissa Segura (on Twitter). He is now with SFX agent Troy Caradonna.

Latest On Ryan Zimmerman

Ryan Zimmerman is two years away from free agency, but the Nationals already know what it will take to keep the third baseman in place long-term, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. Zimmerman and his representatives at CAA have informed the team of the exact extension terms he would accept.

It was reported last week that the Nationals and Zimmerman are discussing a contract extension. Talks are fluid and an agreement is within reach, according to Rosenthal’s sources. 

Zimmerman is set to earn $12MM in 2012 and $14MM in 2013 on his current contract. If he doesn't sign an extension, he'll become eligible for free agency after the 2013 campaign. The 27-year-old posted a .289/.355/.443 line with 12 home runs in 440 plate appearances in 2011. He was sidelined with an abdominal injury last year — the second time in four years that he has missed substantial time due to injury.

Nationals Talking Extension With Ryan Zimmerman

The Nationals have been kicking the tires on Prince Fielder and recently locked up Gio Gonzalez long-term, but now they're focusing on their homegrown star. MLB.com's Bill Ladson reports that the team is currently discussing a contract extension with Ryan Zimmerman. Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post says (on Twitter) that the two sides have been talking for a while, but they're no closer to a deal. 

The 27-year-old Zimmerman still has two years remaining on the five-year, $45MM contract he signed prior to the 2009 season. He'll make $12MM in 2012 and $14MM in 2013. Zimmerman has been one of the game's best players in recent years, hitting .296/.370/.499 with 70 homers over the last three seasons with stellar defense at the hot corner. He earned MVP votes in 2009 and 2010, and probably would have again in 2011 if he didn't miss two months due to an abdomenal problem.

Zimmerman's camp is likely looking at extensions recently signed by Troy Tulowitzki (six years, $119MM) and Ryan Braun (five years, $105MM) as framework for a new deal. All three players were selected within the top seven picks of the 2005 draft, as were Justin Upton, Alex Gordon, and Ricky Romero. Zimmerman is represented by Brodie Van Wagenen.

NL East Notes: Marlins, Rollins, Mets, Zimmerman

Here's the latest from the NL East, including several aftershocks from the Albert Pujols signing…

  • After missing out on Pujols, it has been speculated that the Marlins could turn their attention to Prince Fielder.  FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported yesterday that Miami wasn't interested, and today adds that the Marlins' club policy against no-trade clauses would probably keep them out of the running for Fielder anyway.  The Marlins' insistence on avoiding no-trade clauses was a "big reason they lost" Pujols.  (All links are to Rosenthal's Twitter account.)
  • It seemed as if the Phillies could have been the last suitor left for Jimmy Rollins after the Brewers signed Alex Gonzalez, but with Pujols gone, the Cardinals have money to spend on a Rollins contract, writes Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.  Gelb's Inquirer colleague Bob Brookover wonders if a Rollins/Cardinals match could be impacted by the fact that Rollins' agent Dan Lozano also represents Pujols.
  • When asked if he would sign with the Phillies, Omar Vizquel told Manuel Lira of the Venezuelan newspaper Lider en Deportes (passed on by ESPN's Enrique Rojas) that "We're working on it."  Vizquel turns 45 in April and would be playing his 24th Major League season in 2012.  Vizquel played under Charlie Manuel when Manuel managed the Indians from 2000-02.
  • David Wright may be the only "untouchable" on the Mets roster, writes Mike Puma of the New York Post.  The Mets seem willing to listen to offers on everyone, though young, controllable players such as Ike Davis would naturally require a high price.
  • What the Mets are paying new bullpen acquistions Frank Francisco, Jon Rauch and Ramon Ramirez isn't out of line with other reliever contracts this winter, notes Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger.
  • Mark Zuckerman of Nats Insider thinks the Nationals should look at Pujols leaving the Cardinals as incentive to re-sign Ryan Zimmerman to an extension.  Zimmerman is under contract in Washington through 2013 and Zuckerman says the club's desire to save money for a Zimmerman extension is a reason the Nats haven't pushed for Fielder this offseason.

Nationals Rumors: Zimmerman, Coffey, Flores

The latest on the Nationals…

Latest On Ryan Zimmerman Extension Talks

"There currently are no active discussions regarding a contract extension for Ryan [Zimmerman]," agent Brodie Van Wagenen told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.  Kilgore explains that while the sides have had informal dialogue, no specifics or proposals have been exchanged.  Meanwhile Nationals GM Mike Rizzo told Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports, "It’s important to us.  We’ve already begun preliminary discussions with his people. He’s an important piece for us, a guy that we would like to have here long-term."  Though the statements appear conflicting, it's probably just a difference of opinion over the technical definition of "discussions."

Certainly, both sides have the same goal of a long-term extension.  Zimmerman is eligible for free agency after the 2013 season, so he's not as close as Matt Kemp was but closer than Troy Tulowitzki and Ryan Braun.  As Kilgore explains, Zimmerman wants a deal by spring training 2013 so as to avoid distractions during that season.  

Zimmerman said in August he wants a contract longer than five years, and seven or eight seems likely.  The big question is if the two sides can agree on how Zimmerman's injury history should be factored in.

Rizzo On LaRoche, Zimmerman, Johnson, Harper

The Nationals are looking to contend in 2012 after finishing the 2011 season with an 80-81 record. GM Mike Rizzo discussed his offseason plans with Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com. Here are the highlights of their conversation: 

  • Plans can change, but the Nationals are currently comfortable with Adam LaRoche at first base and Michael Morse as a possible alternative. Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols loom as MVP-caliber options for teams willing to spend.
  • Rizzo said he’d like to improve the offense and explained that LaRoche could help the Nationals score by returning to his career norms in 2012.
  • Rizzo said the Nationals will look to “tweak” their lineup this offseason and suggested a major signing is not particularly likely. 
  • The Nationals will make “every effort” to keep Ryan Zimmerman long-term. Rizzo expects to try to hammer out an extension with the third baseman, whose contract expires after 2013.
  • The Nationals feel “pretty confident” that manager Davey Johnson will remain in place for years to come. However, they’re holding off on making official announcements about Johnson's 2012 status until after the World Series because they haven’t completed their due diligence regarding other candidates.
  • Bryce Harper’s timeline hasn’t changed. The top prospect’s arrival in the Major Leagues depends on how quickly he develops.

Ryan Zimmerman Talks Next Contract

Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman opened up about his next contract, talking to beat writer Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post on Sunday.  Zimmerman, who has repeatedly stated his desire to remain with the Nationals beyond his current contract, expressed confidence that a new deal will get done.

Kilgore lays out the many factors sure to figure into the negotiations.  Troy Tulowitzki and Ryan Braun will come up as comparables, which is cool since the three players were drafted so close together in 2005.  The new portion of Tulo's contract averages $19MM per year over six free agent years, while Braun received $21MM per year over five.  Braun received more per year than Tulowitzki partly because he was closer to free agency, so will Zimmerman receive more than Braun since he's just two seasons away?  Zimmerman told Kilgore he's going to need a contract longer than his current five-year pact, and that 29-year-old free agents get seven to ten years.  Noted Zimmerman, "You only get one shot to try to get a big deal; if you’re lucky enough to get one shot, that’s the time you have to get it."    

Kilgore touches on Zimmerman's injury history, a major factor.  Out of six full seasons in the bigs, Zimmerman has missed large chunks of two of them.  He had a shoulder injury in 2008, after which he signed his five-year, $45MM contract.  This year, he had surgery to repair a torn abdominal muscle.  The Nationals know better than anyone whether these two injuries were isolated occurrences.

Back in March, Zimmerman remarked that "if you have one year before free agency, you might as well play your year out and see what happens."  That feeling hasn't changed much, as he told Kilgore Sunday that while he wouldn't completely rule out an extension with one year left before free agency, when a player gets to that point in his career he wants to make teams compete against each other.  If the Nationals want to hammer out an extension with Zimmerman and his agent Brodie Van Wagenen of CAA Sports, they've probably got a year or less to do so, since he's signed through 2013.

Zimmmerman is thinking at least seven years, which would take him through the 2020 season and tie him with Braun and Tulo for the latest any player is currently under contract.  Kilgore tosses out an eight-year, $175MM figure if Zimmerman wants to exceed Jayson Werth by $1MM through 2017 and then continue for another four years at $22MM per.  Such a contract would be the sixth-largest in baseball history, and he'd be the only player signed through 2021.  Zimmerman doesn't think his injury this year affects his contract situation at all, and if Washington matched Kilgore's estimate it'd suggest they feel the same.