Zimmerman, Nats inch closer to extension
Posted on: February 25, 2012 11:26 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Ryan Zimmerman's 10 a.m. deadline passed with a contract extension with the Nationals and it appears his Saturday deadline will, as well. But that doesn't mean the two sides won't get a deal done.
Saturday night, Zimmerman's agent, Brodie Van Wagenen, said the two sides were close to a deal. Zimmerman is expected to sign an extension worth approximately $18 million per year -- but that was never the sticking point. Instead of money, Zimmerman wanted a no-trade clause that would keep the 27-year-old Virginia native in Washington.
"We have made significant progress on an extension for Ryan that would ensure he plays for the Nationals for a long time, which has always been Ryan's goal," Van Wagenen said. "We are working on a structure that will allow the team to continue to add talent and establish a winner, which is another goal of Ryan's.
"While there are still important aspects to work through, we bridged multiple important gaps on many major parts of a contract. Nothing is done until it is done, but both sides are optimistic than an agreement can be reached and Ryan can focus his energies on preparing with his teammates for the season."
Zimmerman has said he didn't want the extension -- which at one point this offseason Nats GM Mike Rizzo said was the team's top offseason priority -- to interfere with the team's preparation for the season. The team held its first full-squad workout on Saturday.
"All along, all I've wanted is to be able to stay with the Nationals, which I consider my hometown team, and help the franchise become a winner while also being compensated fairly," Zimmerman said. "While nothing is finalized, I am confident that we can reach an agreement that will accompish all those things. I'm from Virginia, I was drafted by the Nationals and I've seen this organization make great progress since I signed here. I want to see it through to the ultimate goal of winning a World Series."
Zimmerman was adamant that he receive a no-trade clause since he was willing to give the hometown discount. Jayson Werth received a no-trade clause in his monster deal last winter, while Mark Buehrle and Prince Fielder were reportedly offered no-trade clauses as part of the offers made to those free agents this winter.
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