Ryan Zimmerman Rumors

Nationals, Zimmerman Agree To Extension

The Nationals brought in several new players this offseason, but they may have just made their most important move. Washington has agreed to terms on a new $100MM six-year contract extension with Ryan Zimmerman, with a club option for a seventh year worth $24MM. In conjunction with his current deal, the new agreement can keep the 27-year-old in the nation's capital through 2020 if the option is exercised. Saturday was the Brodie Van Wagenen client's self-imposed deadline for a new deal.

Icon_13487393Zimmerman, 27, was already under contract through 2013 thanks to the five-year, $40MM contract he signed in April 2009. He is slated to earn $12MM this season and $14MM next season, and would have become a free agent this winter had he not signed that first extension. No-trade protection was said to be the final hurdle in talks and the new deal will provide Zimmerman with a full no-trade clause.

The third baseman also agreed to $10MM personal services deferral in order to give the Nationals flexibility, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.  Zimmerman's current contract will remain unchanged, Mark Zuckerman of NatsInsider.com tweets.

Since making his big league debut a few weeks after being the fourth overall pick in 2005, Zimmerman is a .288/.355/.479 career hitter with four 20+ homer and four 30+ double seasons to his credit. Over the last three years, he's produced a .296/.370/.499 batting line with a Gold Glove, an All-Star Game berth, two Silver Sluggers, and a pair of top-25 finishes in the MVP voting. Only Evan Longoria and Adrian Beltre have posted a better UZR at the hot corner than Zimmerman (+24.6 UZR) since 2009. In terms of wins over replacement, he's been the 12th most valuable position player in baseball over the last three seasons (17.1 WAR).

As with every long-term contract, the Nationals are assuming a significant amount of risk. Zimmerman missed more than two months due to abdominal surgery last summer, and he missed close to two months with a shoulder problem in 2008. After playing in 150+ games in his first two full seasons, he's topped the 150-game plateau just once in the last four years. Although he's an excellent defender at the hot corner at the moment, Zimmerman may have to move to first towards the end of the deal, a move that will be easier to swallow if third base prospect and 2011 sixth overall pick Anthony Rendon develops as expected.

GM Mike Rizzo has ensured that his core can remain intact through at least 2015. Zimmerman, Jayson Werth, Gio Gonzalez, Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Danny Espinosa, Wilson Ramos, Tyler Clippard, Drew Storen, Rendon, and Bryce Harper are all under contract or team control for at least another four seasons. Center field remains a long-term question, but next offseason's free agent crop offers a number of excellent candidates, including B.J. Upton, Michael Bourn, and Shane Victorino.

As our Extension Tracker shows, Zimmerman's contract is the fifth $100MM+ extension handed out over the last calendar year, and the third multi-year extension given out by the Nationals this offseason. Mike Morse (two years, $10.5MM) and Gonzalez (five years, $42MM) also signed for multiple years this winter while Zimmermann and Clippard remain extension candidates as well. Washington is very clearly a team on the rise, and now they know their franchise player will be around when the rebuild results in a playoff spot.

Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post first reported the agreement while Buster Olney of ESPN.com (via Twitter) reported the contract length.  Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio (via Twitter) reported the deal's worth.  Mark Zuckerman of NatsInsider.com tweeted that the option year is worth $24MM.

Mike Axisa contributed to this post. Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.

The Latest On Ryan Zimmerman

The Nationals and Ryan Zimmerman are reportedly close to a long-term contract extension, with no-trade language being the largest remaining hurdle. The third baseman's self-imposed deadline for a new deal is 10am ET this morning, as MLB.com's Bill Ladson reports (on Twitter). Here's the latest, with the newest info up top...

  • Rizzo said the two sides made progress and the Nats believe a deal will be struck either tonight or early tomorrow, according to Kilgore, Zuckerman, and Comak (all Twitter links). "We feel good and optimistic Zim is going to be a Washington National for a long, long time," said the GM. "I don't see any major stumbling blocks. More detail-oriented work that needs to be done."
  • "Nothing is done until it's done, but both sides are optimistic," said Zimmerman's agent Brodie Van Wagenen in a statement according to Comak and Kilgore (all Twitter links). "While nothing is finalized, I am confident we can reach an agreement ... [we are] working on a structure that will allow the team to continue to add talent and establish a winner."
  • A source told ESPN's Jim Bowden that there will be closure to negotiations tonight, one way or the other (Twitter link).
  • Zimmerman acknowledged that the no-trade issue is "basically the only thing left" to settle, tweets Amanda Comak of the Washington Times.
  • Rizzo told reporters (including Kilgore and Comak) that they're working on a "very lucrative, very complicated" extension (Twitter links). "We don't have an agreement at this time," confirmed the GM.
  • "Today is the day," Zimmerman said to reporters after today's workout, including Amanda Comak of The Washington Times (Twitter links). "Both sides are working to get over the last couple of hurdles." He said they've gone back and proposed a "creative" solution to bridge the gap.
  • The deadline has passed and players are out on the field for their workout, report Ladson and Kerzel (Twitter links). There is no word as to whether an extension has been reached.
  • "The ball has been in the Nationals' court for quite some time," said Zimmerman to reporters, including Ladson (Twitter links). "I'm waiting like the rest of you."
  • GM Mike Rizzo responded with a simple "no" when asked if there was anything new to report, says Pete Kerzel of MASNSports.com (on Twitter).
  • Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington mentions that the deadline is a soft deadline, and something could still get worked out in the near future (Twitter links). He points out that Zimmerman's last contract was announced three weeks after its deadline.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Nationals, Ryan Zimmerman Close To Extension

8:17pm: A Nationals official said he'd be "surprised if we missed this opportunity" to extend Zimmerman, writes Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.

3:04pm: Hurdles still exist between Zimmerman and the Nationals, Amanda Comak and Marc Lancaster of the Washington Times write. Manager Davey Johnson says he'd endorse an extension for the third baseman.

9:32am: Zimmerman said he's close to an extension, ESPN's Tim Kurkjian tweets. The third baseman suggested he wants a no-trade clause, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post (on Twitter). He said he's willing to sign a "team friendly" deal since he wants to play in Washington. The sides haven't yet agreed on the no-trade issue, Heyman tweets.

FRIDAY, 7:26am: Zimmerman didn't ask for "Tulo money," Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets. The deal between Zimmerman and the Nationals would be in the $18MM per season range, Heyman writes. Fellow 2005 first rounder Troy Tulowitzki signed a ten-year, $157.75MM extension last offseason.

THURSDAY, 4:46pm: Kilgore reports that most notable hurdle remaining is no-trade language (Twitter links). Amanda Comak of The Washington Times says the two sides are close, but not significantly closer than they were this morning.

4:15pm: The Nationals and Zimmerman are close to an extension, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links). The new deal would be for at least six years, but Rosenthal cautions that deal-breakers remain in place and are described as "real."

MLB.com's Bill Ladson hears that the two sides are "close to a resolution" on an extension (Twitter link).

11:05am: Rizzo and Van Wagenen are expected to meet this afternoon, Kilgore reports. It may be the final face-to-face meeting before the deadline for a deal.

9:16am: The Nationals remain "hopeful" that they'll work out an extension with third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, GM Mike Rizzo told reporters, including Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. The Nationals will continue talking to Zimmerman until this Saturday's deadline, though there's no guarantee of a deal.

“I don’t have a real good idea on the deadline, whether it’ll get done or not," Rizzo said. "We’re continuing to try.”

Rizzo said the deadline won't stop him from talking to agent Brodie Van Wagenen, according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson (on Twitter). Van Wagenen was in Nationals camp yesterday, though we shouldn't over-analyze his presence since agents regularly attend Spring Training and he also represents Drew Storen and John Lannan.

Extension Updates: Zimmerman, Bourn, Phillips

Extension season generally continues well into Spring Training and the regular season. For example, teams and players agreed on nine extensions between this date last year and the end of April. Let's check in on some ongoing extension talks:

  • Ryan Zimmerman said he doesn't want to discuss a new extension after this Friday, according to Bill Ladson of MLB.com. Zimmerman had already set the official start of Spring Training as a soft deadline for talks, since he doesn't want to let contract talks become a distraction. Agent Brodie Van Wagenen was in Nationals camp today.
  • Michael Bourn says the Braves haven't approached him about an extension so far, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link). Bourn will earn $4.4MM in 2012 and hit free agency after the season unless the Braves lock him up.
  • Brandon Phillips said he's not looking for "Prince Fielder money" in extension talks with the Reds, according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. "I just want what other second baseman got," he said. "I want to be in my city." Phillips is not under contract beyond 2012.
  • Check out MLBTR's Extension Tracker for information on previous deals.

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.

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