Saturday, February 25, 2012

Zimmerman, Nats still in talks [updated]

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Ryan Zimmerman worked out today with his contract situation still unresolved.
Updated at 2:09 p.m.

VIERA, Fla. -- Ryan Zimmerman has given the Nationals until the end of the day to hash out the last remaining details of a long-term contract extension that has nearly been completed but has not been finalized quite yet.

Though his original, self-imposed deadline to complete a deal before the first official, full-squad workout of spring training came and went this morning, Zimmerman decided to give the negotiations one last shot before halting them at the end of the day.

"Today is the day," Zimmerman said following the workout. "It's either going to get done, or it's not going to get done. Both sides are working to get over the last little couple of hurdles, I guess you could call them."

Zimmerman didn't specify precisely what hurdles remain, but suggested it remains the same sticking point that has held things up for some time: the inclusion of a full no-trade clause in the new contract.

"It's the same thing we've been talking about the whole time," he said. "It's something creative to ensure me that I will be here. Because that's the reason I';m signing the deal. That's basically the only thing left."

General manager Mike Rizzo has been in communication with Zimmerman's agent, Brodie Van Wagenen, today and the two will continue to talk over the course of the day, hoping to come to some agreement.

"We've come a long way and bridged a big gap from the beginning of this to where we are currently," Rizzo said this afternoon. "But we're not there yet. This is a very complicated, lucrative contract that we're discussing, and we're not quite at the finish line yet. I'm still hopeful that we can come to an agreement, but we're not there yet."

Zimmerman and the Nationals have been negotiating this contract for the last year and have been close to a deal for some time. They've just been unable to cross those final hurdles. The 27-year-old third baseman does remain signed for the next two seasons.

Zimmerman reported to Space Coast Stadium shortly after 8 a.m. today and when asked if there was anything new replied: "Nope. You guys know more than I do." He joined the rest of his teammates for a clubhouse meeting with manager Davey Johnson at 9 a.m. and then took the practice fields at 10 a.m. for the Nationals' first full-squad workout of the spring.

He seemed perfectly at ease on the practice field, joking with teammates and participating in every drill just as he normally would. Off to the side of the field, Rizzo stood talking to principal owner Ed Cohen for nearly an hour, several times turning emphatic.

The biggest obstacle continues to be the inclusion of a no-trade clause in Zimmerman's new contract. Though he'd automatically attain full no-trade rights following the 2015 season (at which point he'd have 10 years of big-league service time, the last five with the same club) Zimmerman wants assurances he won't be moved prior to that.

One potential sticking point: It's unclear whether the Nationals are willing to give Zimmerman a true extension that won't kick in until his current contract expires after the 2013 season, or whether they would tear up his current deal and start a new one now. Ownership is open to an extension but may be reluctant to alter the terms of the current contract (a five-year, $45 million deal signed in April 2009).

The inability to strike a deal prior to Zimmerman's deadline by no means extinguishes the possibility of an agreement later. They would certainly pick up talks again next winter, though Zimmerman would again insist on a pre-spring training deadline as he enters the final season of his contract.

And it's still entirely possible something can get worked out in the coming weeks, especially given how close the two sides already are. Three years ago, Zimmerman said he wouldn't negotiate beyond Opening Day. He and the Nationals wound up agreeing to the basic framework of a deal minutes before first pitch, but it wasn't actually finalized and announced for another three weeks.

"If we can't come to an agreement by the end of today, or whatever the deadline is, I'm certainly going to continue to discuss the contract," Rizzo said this afternoon. "Because I want to sign Ryan Zimmerman. Ryan's got to concentrate on baseball, and that's what he's going to do, because that's what he does best. He has hired people to do his negotiating, and I'm certainly going to continue to talk to him."

Whether Rizzo and Van Wagenen continue to talk, Zimmerman made it clear he wants no part of protracted negotiations beyond the end of the day.

"It'll be done either yes or no today," he said. "We'll have closure either way. I would really rather not talk about it anymore today, because I don't think it's fair. By the end of today, we'll know yes or no whether we're going to do it or we're not going to do it. Like I said all along, we can concentrate on baseball."

61 comments:

natsfan1a said...

Hope so. He didn't say anything about not getting on the bus if it wasn't worked out, right? (Just kidding. ;-))

And it's still entirely possible something can get worked out in the coming weeks, especially given how close the two sides already are.

TimDz said...

They'll get it done. Ownership will look real stupid otherwise...

Gonat said...

TimDz, why would ownership look stupid. We know nothing except Ryan Zimmerman saying he offered a team friendly deal. That's like me telling you I look handsome. Very subjective and beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

I don't buy it. Jon Heyman tweeted yesterday that Zimmmerman wants $18 million. That's what Werth makes. Tim Kurkjian tweeted that Zim wants 6 years & buy out the remaining 2 years.

Is any of that information accurate? I don't know. Zim says he wants to stay here but the attachment to that is pay me what I am asking for.

sjb said...

I think that there has been unnecessary drama in this situation--drama that Zim certainly didn't intend-- largely due to Tom Boswell's column on Monday, and specifically to (IMHO) the irresponsible suggestion that Zim might be traded before the deadline this season if a deal isn't done now. I just don't see that happening, and have suggested the Nats issue a statement to that effect (even though that might be like issuing a statement that they're not going to blow up Nats Park).

Anonymous said...

Zim has been with the team through all of the lean years, gamely being the "face of the franchise" and that that entails. Similarly, the fans have stuck with the team through the lean years, back to back 100-loss seasons, and the endless parade of knuckleheads (see: Dukes, Elijah).

Through it all, the Nats have said, stick with us. We have a plan. We're building for the future. And you really can't argue with the results. They may still be a piece or two away, but the future is here, there's a good of good young players with more in the pipeline. They've made some smart trades & signings this offseason. All systems go.

But now it's time for ownership to step up to the plate and prove that its acting in good faith by getting this extension done. Are the Nats going to be a first-rate franchise, or are they going to be the Oakland A's? Now's the time to put up or shut up. Get the extension done.

FS said...

I would be disappointed if he is not true to his word.

Anonymous said...

You can count on the narrow-minded and acerbic Rizzo to screw it up!

Gonat said...

Anonymous said...
But now it's time for ownership to step up to the plate and prove that its acting in good faith by getting this extension done.

February 25, 2012 10:22 AM
_________________________________

How do you possibly know if they HAVE or HAVE NOT acted in good faith? Management hasn't said a word except this is a top priority and that type of language. They never said that Zim's offer to them was team-friendly. Don't you think logically that if it was team-friendly it would have been done already?

This is exactly the Jeter deal all over again and the net result was the Yankees severely overpaid as they caved to the pressure.

Sorry, Ryan Zimmerman has been paid millions to play the game. He is getting paid $12 million this year and $14 million next year and that is a guarantee.

Yes, this was a top priority.

Theophilus said...

a·cer·bic ( -sûr b k) also a·cerb ( -sûrb ). adj. 1. Sour or bitter tasting; acid. See Synonyms at bitter. 2. Sharp or biting, as in character or expression: "At times, the ...

Mark'd said...

This is a one-sided argument in the court of public opinion. Why hasn't a member of the media asked Zimmerman to define TEAM FRIENDLY. I would love to hear that one. Only Boswell seems to have the cajones to step up to that.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

TimDz said...

They'll get it done. Ownership will look real stupid otherwise...


Oh, like that's never stopped the Lerners before.

Anonymous said...

Not signing Zim would be very Redskinesque...undervaluing your own players, letting them leave as free agents, and letting them star elsewhere.

TimDz said...

Gonat...maybe stupid is not the correct term. I guess I would see them as having some egg on their face in the court of public opinion.
True, none of us know the goings on in the meetings, but I think the sticking points will be resolved and the extension gets done.

Anonymous said...

Of course if Zimmerman leaves he would star elsewhere in the right situation or he could end up like Adam Dunn or Carl Crawford or he may follow in the footsteps of Roy Oswalt or Edwin Jackson and find out Free Agency isn't as great as he thought it would be.

Gonat said...

TimDz said...
Gonat...maybe stupid is not the correct term. I guess I would see them as having some egg on their face in the court of public opinion.
True, none of us know the goings on in the meetings, but I think the sticking points will be resolved and the extension gets done.

February 25, 2012 10:50 AM
________________________________

Personally, I think it will get done at some point. Ownership never looks good in negotiations as that is just the way it is.

I also have no problem with $18 million a year that Jon Heyman suggested but don't insult my intelligence and claim you offered Rizzo a team-friendly deal when you are asking for more than the last 3rd baseman who went through Free Agency got and he came off of a monster year and Zim did not.

Also, if Zim wants the new deal to buy out 2012 and 2013, then that is significant. Next 2 years are at $12 & $14 million.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

New drinking game!
"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

something bitter for this one, maybe Becherovka shots...

Anonymous said...

If I was sick 10 hours a week and could only work 30 hours per week and then walked into my boss and asked for a raise I would be fired.

MicheleS said...

Sec 3.. my favorite movie!

natsfan1a said...

Coffee for me, strong and with a splash of milk.

something bitter for this one, maybe Becherovka shots...

Anonymous said...

Boswell's suggestion that Zim be traded by the deadline came from the Nationals FO, possibly even Rizzo, and unfortunately, it makes sense. You would get more for Zimmerman now than you would in his contract year as a one year rental.

Its a way to put some pressure on Zimmerman's representatives knowing that he could end up anywhere ... its how business is done in baseball ... but it would likely be with a contender if it happened. Certainly, the Yankees would be one team that would likely be interested.

But I doubt that will happen. Rizzo will continue negotiating until it gets done. Probably before the first regular season game.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

If I was sick 10 hours a week and could only work 30 hours per week and then walked into my boss and asked for a raise I would be fired.

Maybe he's a whole lot better at what he does than we are at what we do. Just sayin.

J.C. Dithers said...

If I was sick 10 hours a week and could only work 30 hours per week and then walked into my boss and asked for a raise I would be fired.


BUMSTEAD, YOU SLACKER! GET THE #&@< OFF THE THE INTERNET AND FINISH THAT ZIMMERMAN CONTRACT!!!

SonnyG10 said...

@Sec 3 11:23 am, I was thinking the same thing.

Anonymous said...

Zim: Yah, I could only work 101 days out of 162 but it did give me quality time to meet Charlie Sheen and see some good movies and do things that normally I couldn't do. Now pay up suckas!

NatsJack in Florida said...

Actually watching practice and talking to real baseball people sure beats reading most of the junk posted here.

Anonymous said...

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/fp/flashPollResultsState?sportIndex=mlb&pollId=133911

Missouri (the state where St. Louis Cardinals are) is the only state where they think Braun did PEDs

Anonymous said...

NatsJack:

Stop rubbing it in! You are making me apoplectic because I won't be there for another week!

Anonymous said...

NatsJack in Florida said...
Actually watching practice and talking to real baseball people sure beats reading most of the junk posted here.

February 25, 2012 12:16 PM

Good for you. Enjoy your time with real baseball people as us trolls debate nothing.

NatsLady said...

NJ in Fla--we agree. So post, post, post!! You are our eyes, ears and tongue!

SCNatsFan said...

NJ, I'm jealous, thinking of heading down there for a weekend for a mental health fix. It was nice during the winter while most of the trolls wee in hibernation but now you have to sidestep them looking for the intelligent conversation that still exists.

natsfan1a said...

Well, it is the "show me" state. ;-) And Wisconsin is the only state where they are convinced he didn't. Disclaimer: both generalizations apply to the population of folks who took that particular survey. (I won't go into my polls/surveys rant, although once in a while I do like to treat my sister the public relations professional to it. And you're welcome. :-))

Anonymous said...

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/fp/flashPollResultsState?sportIndex=mlb&pollId=133911

Missouri (the state where St. Louis Cardinals are) is the only state where they think Braun did PEDs
February 25, 2012 12:21 PM

Rabbit said...

So, where's all the love between the Nationals and Zimmerman?? Yes, love of money.

sjb said...

@Anon 11:19--While it's quite likely that the suggestion that Zim might be traded came from someone in the Nats organization, I doubt it came from Rizzo or anyone close to him--I think Mike knows better than to engage in such crude pressure tactics. I also doubt that anyone, even the Yankees, could offer enough for Zim to satify Rizzo, or that the Nats want to endure the firestorm that would ensue (similar to the firestorm when Tom Seaver was traded from the Mets in 1977).

The Cardinals never considered trading Pujols as his free agency approached. Zimmerman isn't quite Pujols, but I think the feeling would be the same.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Sitting at the Lone Cabbage and talking baseball with the owner's son in law who is a die hard Braves fan. He says the Phillies are in trouble because both the Braves and Nats will battle for the NL East title.

NattyNation said...

Something interesting that struck me: Zim is at least partly to blame for some of this hoopla by imposing a somewhat arbitrary date of the start of today's workout for his contract extension. I think he is being genuine when he says he does not want the contract talks to be a distraction to his team mates, and that he wants to be here for his entire career, but by setting a date at all he has made it a bit of a distraction. ItMaybe its a tactic by BVW to put some pressure on the front office, which it certainly has, maybe not.

Also striking to me: Rizzo essentially saying Zim's date is bunk, something like "we will keep talking into the season." A bit of gamesmanship?

dj in Fl. said...

@NatsJack
1. If Stras is pitching to Harper tomorrow, that is worth fighting past Daytona to see. Plans changed!
2. The Terps are on the local Fox station at 2:30.

FS said...

I don't like the word 'lucrative'. :(

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

NatsJack in Florida said...
Actually watching practice and talking to real baseball people sure beats reading most of the junk posted here.

HEY! I resemble that remark.

NatsJack in Florida said...

I gotta see the Stras/BHarp matchup. Screw the Terps.

Richard said...

What's with the Zim "deadline"? Seem un-Zim like. "Whoa, I don't feel like talkin' about the big stuff after Feb. 25, I just don't. That's just me. I just wanna to baseball with the guys." Total arbitrary B.S. ... For a guy makin' $45M for 5 fives and who's goin' make a lot more in the future. Hey, talk to the Nats FO whenever. It's your agent anyway. That's what he's there for. He'll present the contract when he's got one. He knows what you want, right. How the hell hard it is, for millions of dollars. Someone here said it's a standoff at the moment and I agree. God, when will they make enough money. There are signs the clubs are getting smarter about the Big Paydays, except in LA and, god, Detroit.

dj in Fl. said...

@ NatsJack
I meant to say the Terps are on in 18 mintes.
I will be in Viera tomorrow to see that matchup also.

Ray said...

I am not understanding this. If the Nats want Zimmerman to stay, why won't they give him a no trade clause? I do not understand management's position on this. The only thing that makes sense is that they want the hometown discount without giving anything back in return.

HagerstowNat said...

Whenever they say its not about money, its ALL about money. Now JimBow is chiming in which just made it uglier.

Parra may get traded to Nats sooner than it takes to get this deal done.

N. Cognito said...

Ray said...
"The only thing that makes sense is that they want the hometown discount without giving anything back in return."

The only thing that makes sense in all this is that neither you nor anyone else on this board knows enough to affix or partition blame.

Anonymous said...

With clubs like the Yankees, Boston, Angels and Dodgers all presumably needing third basemen in three years Zimm would be well positioned indeed. ps ARod is breaking down at an alarming rate

sm13 said...

Pay the man! Put us all out of our misery. And, if Ryan is looking for a signing bonus, "candlesticks are always appropriate".

SonnyG10 said...

If Zimm is worried about being traded after signing for home town discount, why not have an option clause in the contract that bumps the money up if he does get traded?

natsfan1a said...

On a somewhat related note, we need a live...is it a live rooster?

sm13 said...

Pay the man! Put us all out of our misery. And, if Ryan is looking for a signing bonus, "candlesticks are always appropriate".
February 25, 2012 2:53 PM

N. Cognito said...

What is the "home town discount" everyone keeps talking about. I mean, specifically, in dollars, what is known?

Anonymous said...

I think Mike knows better than to engage in such crude pressure tactics. I also doubt that anyone, even the Yankees, could offer enough for Zim to satify Rizzo,

Well sjb I think Zim started it with his "arbitrary deadline". The last time it was opening day? C'mon, Zimmerman is guilty of "crude pressure tactics" but it unfortunately does appear to work with this ownership work. See Boz reaming owners just before Gio trade.

Like it or not this ownership group and its Steering Committee is not easy to deal with as the stakes are raised. They become ostriches and like to bury their heads in the sand hoping something will come along to make their decision making easier. Not Ted, he seems more the ramrod but he seems determined to continue to use this "steering committee" to keep his own "gut-in-check".

Not fun times for Mike Rizzo but once he accomplishes this (and he will says Yoda Jedi Master), then he will have completed a very productive off season. And then its time to prepare for the upcoming draft and the rapid contract turn-around time while continuing to work on finalizing the roster with the CF he seems to feel is a big part of his master plan.

SCNatsFan said...

I've said it before and I'll say it until I'm blue in the face, a no trade clause is worthless and seen time and time again. All that means is if RZ is traded he can veto and pick where he doesn't want to go - which as a 10/5 he'll get soon enough - but more importantly to him he can demand to renegotiate if he is traded for an extension. I have to believe the hold up is elsewhere and is - gasp - probably money.

fpcsteve said...

I agree that Zimmerman has made this more difficult than necessary with his deadline and claim that he is doing the Nats a favor (giving them a "team-friendly deal" which some posters here have cast doubt on with their analysis). I don't think the last two years of his contract should be negated and replaced with the new deal. A deal is a deal; the old one should stand on its own (considerable) merits.

sm13 said...

As Ryan said to Riz, "Why's he calling me meat? I'm the one driving a Porsche"

sjb said...

Apparently Zim is now saying (via Amanda Comak of the WashTimes) that the no-trade clause is the only issue remaining.

While if that's so, I would give Zim what he wants, I can see a couple of reasons for ownership to ge reluctant:
1). John Sickels thinks Rendon will be ready as soon as next year. If true, that doesn't necessarily involve trading Zim (to say the least) but management may not want to limit it's options;
2). If they give a no-trade clause (especially an absolute one) to Zim having given one to Werth, they've institutionalized it and every star player negotiating a multiyear contract will expect one (Bourn or Upton next year, JZimm, Harper, Strasburg down the road).

Feel Wood said...

No one can produce a quote with the words "no trade clause" coming out of Zimmernan's mouth, which means that the "something creative" that's holding up the deal is not a no trade clause. It's something else, probably on the back end of the deal, because that's where Zimmerman's desire to be a Nat for life is most at jeopardy. He's 27 now and has to be figuring his career should last at least until his late 30s or even 40. That's at minimum a 10 year deal, meaning there's probably some language relative to options at the end that's the real issue. He wants to avoid being Pudged until he says it's time to quit.

Anonymous said...

While if that's so, I would give Zim what he wants, I can see a couple of reasons for ownership to be reluctant:
1). John Sickels thinks Rendon will be ready as soon as next year. If true, that doesn't necessarily involve trading Zim (to say the least) but management may not want to limit it's options;


No, Rendon, given his size, looks more and more like a 2nd baseman. Sickel's hasn't seen Rendon play in the minors but we can expect he's going to move fast like Harper. With Hague and Kobernus close to Harrisburg or there the Nats have plenty of depth in the MI right now. Given Espinosa is the better shortstop.

You never know even if he is ready next year losing Zim would be losing a big part of an offense that is already beyond sub par. He's been the only real consistent high level offensive threat up until now. Rendon's power in college might not translate? And then?

Its why Mike Rizzo stated clearly that he wants to sign Ryan Zimmerman. There was no hemming and hawing about it (as with other players) ... he wants to continue to find a way to the dotted line.

Ownership (Ted) has to be willing to back him on that plan. Otherwise, he's not going to say that.

2). If they give a no-trade clause (especially an absolute one) to Zim having given one to Werth, they've institutionalized it and every star player negotiating a multiyear contract will expect one (Bourn or Upton next year, JZimm, Harper, Strasburg down the road).

This seems far more plausible to me. Ownership is appears to be really smarting from the Werth deal. Seeing what they have in the minors they might be kicking themselves. But, in the end they had to execute that deal to break the serious logjam that Boswell kept harping on over and over again. The Steering Committee was making things very hard for the baseball people and continue to do so.

They have to learn they will never be perfect. All they can do is trust the great collection of baseball minds they've assembled. And it is an impressive cadre. If they get it wrong anyone would. So, its the best you can do. Unlike Joy Riding JimBo Rizzo and his FO have a real plan ... AND HEY unbelievably ITS WORKING!!! Better and faster than anyone dreamed possible (or at least that Steering Committee).

They need to stop trying to sink the ship by doing nothing in the middle of storms except batten down the hatches and sit there. The ship needs to be made seaworthy Bristol fashion, but even then sometimes the unexpected incurs some risk. That's life.

Manassas Nats Fan said...

As Larry the Cable Guy says. "Get'er done."

ahoya said...

Why would the Nats be reluctant to give Zim a no trade clause, especially if it only applies to the next 3 years before he becomes a 10/5 guy? The only reason they'd want to trade him is if he were diminished, but a diminished player with a huge contract is untradeable anyway.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

I for one am feeling no misery whatsoever over whether Zimm has an extension two years before his current contract is up. He's making plenty of money now; he's enough of a pro, I think, to not start dogging it just to make a self-destructive point; and two years is a long time, a lot can happen. I hope they sign him, but even if they don't, he's the face of the franchise, not the franchise itself.

Anonymous said...

Re: Rendon -- since they're still sorting out what his best position is, why are we considering him as a replacement for a 6 year veteran who's already been a Silver Slugger, Gold Glove and an All Star?

Anonymous said...

i wonder if david wright or josh hamilton can play first.If hamilton can play first the nats should get him.i think its dumb to have harper in right.if harper played center we could get a good hitter like hamilton to play lf

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