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Spring storylines: Zimmerman’s contract

Feb 14, 2012, 12:00 PM EDT

US Presswire file photo
Ryan Zimmerman has been the face of the franchise since he was drafted in 2005.

With pitchers and catchers due to report Sunday, we've reached the home stretch of the offseason. All week, we'll count down the five biggest storylines facing the Nationals at spring training. Today, it's storyline No. 4: A possible long-term contract extension for Ryan Zimmerman…

It has only been 34 months since Ryan Zimmerman and the Nationals last agreed to a long-term contract, the five-year, $45 million deal that ensured the face of the franchise would continue to hold that title into the prime of his career.

So why worry about his next contract already, with Zimmerman unable to become a free agent for another two years?

Because that's the way baseball works, and the time to lock up marquee players is right now, before they get too close to free agency.

Clubs that let their top stars reach the final year of their contracts take an awfully big risk. And as we've seen lately, they often wind up losing their man. Just ask the Cardinals if they wish they had locked up Albert Pujols two years ago, and the Brewers if they wish they had done something to keep Prince Fielder.

So 2012 figures to be an important year for the Nationals in their quest to keep Zimmerman in a curly W cap for the rest of his career. And, ifRead more »

159 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. joemktg - Feb 14, 2012 at 12:05 PM

    "Those kind of deals don't just come together overnight." Relatively speaking, they do, and it's called Free Agency, which is what will happen should a deal not get done.And he's established dominance at the 3B position, outside of injury time. Pay the man. And get this out of the way.

  2. MicheleS - Feb 14, 2012 at 12:06 PM

    Pay the man Shirley!

  3. Anonymous - Feb 14, 2012 at 12:35 PM

    They need to get this conract done. Zm has already said he doesn't need a contract that is so big that it will keep the Nationals from doing other things. There is no better "face of the franchise" than him. Need to get it done.

  4. Natslifer - Feb 14, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    I don't believe it will happen this offseason. Zimmy's best leverage comes after this year. And the Nationals may have more bargaining power with Rendon/Zimmy if Rendon manages to put up some great numbers this year and they haven't signed Zimmy yet. I'd love to see a deal get done and still don't believe Rendon is healthy until he proves otherwise but unfortunately don't see it happening. Here's hoping that Zimmy gets his Rod Tidwell moment.

  5. MicheleS - Feb 14, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    NatsLifer…Rod Tidwell moment for Ryan:3 Walk Off Homers Oct 1-3, propelling the Nats to the NL East Crown, the Playoffs (and beyond) and the Phillies to an offseason of Golf.

  6. DCJohn - Feb 14, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    The farm system is stacking up not only with pitchers but position players. This is going to be a tougher negotiation than fans expect. How valuable will Zim be in two years, three years, five years, ten years. I think a five deal is fair. Good luck Zim.

  7. Mark L - Feb 14, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    Let's not forget his 2011 injury was totally self-inflicted; sliding headfirst to 2nd base when there wasn't even a play nearby.Sliding headfirst is the very definition of stupid baseball.

  8. MicheleS - Feb 14, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    And you know we are making strides when you get this kind of article from a Hall of Fame Writer!http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120213&content_id=26673818&vkey=news_was&c_id=wasCaptcha: FIEST.. Like we will be having a Fiesta in October!

  9. LoveDaNats - Feb 14, 2012 at 1:16 PM

    @ MicheleSAmen!"Rod Tidwell moment for Ryan:3 Walk Off Homers Oct 1-3, propelling the Nats to the NL East Crown, the Playoffs (and beyond) and the Phillies to an offseason of Golf."Pay the man!!!!

  10. Anonymous - Feb 14, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    Zuck — are you Ryan's agent? "You're talking about what's likely to be at least a seven-year extension worth perhaps $140 million or more." Based upon what?? What 3B has gotten that kind of money barring A-Rod? No other 3B has exceeded an annualized $17M per season, ever. David Wright will be a FA in 2014 as things stand now, is he looking at a deal of $20+M per season too? 25 HR'S, 90 RBI and a .295 AVG with some fragility issues is not $20M/yr stat line.Zim is a very nice player, an All Star caliber guy, Silver Slugger maybe, but the club would be nuts to ink him long term right now, unless they get a nice discount from market, before he can prove that he can stay on the field (at 3B, as his throwing was still a problem when he came back last year) AND produce in at a MVP-ish level, like a Matt Kemp, Ryan Braun, Adrian Gonzalez territory if he's looking for those kind of coins. And from the other perspective Zim would be nuts to take what is currently his market value — likely much, much under $140M at 2 years removed from FA — before having proven he's an elite and reliable guy.Both parties should like to see Ryan in his 27-yr old season break the .900 OPS for the first time, with 30+ HR, .300+ AVG, and 100+ RBI, starting 150+ games before inking the next contract.dfh21

  11. Sunderland - Feb 14, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    "Just ask the Cardinals if they wish they had locked up Albert Pujols two years ago, and the Brewers if they wish they had done something to keep Prince Fielder." I'm sure there are plenty of Cardinal and Brewers that are glad they are not stuck with long term contracts for guys who will be DH's in a few years.I have a hard time seeing Rizzo and Team Zimmerman agreeing to a long term value for Ryan right now. I think this plays out next winter.And in the "you can't always believe what they say" department, Zimmerman did not tear his ab muscle on a head first slide. He may have aggravated an existing injury to the point that he decided to have the surgery then, but he was not fully healthy before the slide, and tore his abdominus rectus seriously enough to require surgery. Not with one head first slide.

  12. Anonymous - Feb 14, 2012 at 2:00 PM

    Lou Brock: 938 SB's, 0 head first slides, 10 consecutive seasons with 600+ AB's.

  13. Gonat - Feb 14, 2012 at 2:07 PM

    Sunderland said… And in the "you can't always believe what they say" department, Zimmerman did not tear his ab muscle on a head first slide. He may have aggravated an existing injury to the point that he decided to have the surgery then, but he was not fully healthy before the slide, and tore his abdominus rectus seriously enough to require surgery. Not with one head first slide. February 14, 2012 8:45 AM ___________________________________There were so many mis-truths about how it happened. I go with SteveM's statement a year ago that the original ab injury from the end of the 2010 season wasn't better and was aggravated a few times in Spring Training and the regular season before he needed the surgery.I have no clue what Zim is asking for in terms of dollars and this team will move forward with him or without him just like they did when he has been injured. I hear there is this Rendon kid lurking around.

  14. Mark'd - Feb 14, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    Gonat, I agree but its water under the bridge. The difficult part is paying $18 million a season for a guy who plays 100 games a year on average. That makes that $18 million closer to $27 million on a pay per games played cost equivalent to a player who plays 150 games a year on average.Can Zim stay healthy?

  15. Anonymous - Feb 14, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    Ricky Henderson, 1,406 SB's, 1,000+ head first slides

  16. Cool Papa - Feb 14, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    Yeah, well, I was once called out for being hit by my own batted ball while trying to slide into second base. (Well, it makes a good story, anyway.)

  17. Gonat - Feb 14, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    Anonymous said… Zuck — are you Ryan's agent? "You're talking about what's likely to be at least a seven-year extension worth perhaps $140 million or more." Based upon what?? What 3B has gotten that kind of money barring A-Rod? No other 3B has exceeded an annualized $17M per season, ever. David Wright will be a FA in 2014 as things stand now, is he looking at a deal of $20+M per season too? 25 HR'S, 90 RBI and a .295 AVG with some fragility issues is not $20M/yr stat line.Zim is a very nice player, an All Star caliber guy, Silver Slugger maybe, but the club would be nuts to ink him long term right now, unless they get a nice discount from market, before he can prove that he can stay on the field (at 3B, as his throwing was still a problem when he came back last year) AND produce in at a MVP-ish level, like a Matt Kemp, Ryan Braun, Adrian Gonzalez territory if he's looking for those kind of coins. And from the other perspective Zim would be nuts to take what is currently his market value — likely much, much under $140M at 2 years removed from FA — before having proven he's an elite and reliable guy.Both parties should like to see Ryan in his 27-yr old season break the .900 OPS for the first time, with 30+ HR, .300+ AVG, and 100+ RBI, starting 150+ games before inking the next contract.dfh21 February 14, 2012 8:45 AM _________________________________I agree with you. I'm thinking $16 to $18 million a year tops and even that should probably be less with "games played" incentive clauses.Zim comes out in a very large Free Agent pool of talent if he tests FA and he won't be in the Top 5 projected Free Agents. Michael Morse may even surpass Zim as there is 2 seasons for both to show what they have. I hope he signs here long-term and hope for the best.

  18. jcj5y - Feb 14, 2012 at 2:35 PM

    dfh21 makes an interesting point–Zim hasn't ever broken .900 OPS. He isn't an ultra-elite player, at least not yet. There are reasons to believe he could be, but not enough reasons to pay him like he already is.I'm guessing that the Nats would be willing to make a deal at the second-tier star level right now. So in some sense the question is whether Zim is willing to take a chance that 2012 is the year he proves he's not just an All-Star, but an MVP candidate. If he has that kind of year, he'll get paid by someone, even if it isn't the Nats.

  19. Anonymous - Feb 14, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    Zim has not grown in to the star level player he thinks he is. I think he has a high opinion of himself and his comments about his contract extension has that air of pompous BS.

  20. MFG - Feb 14, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    Anonymous said… Zim has not grown in to the star level player he thinks he is. I think he has a high opinion of himself and his comments about his contract extension has that air of pompous BS.————All Zim has said is that he wants to play in Washington his whole career, he doesn't want to negotiate once spring training starts, and he doesn't want his new contract to be so expensive that it keeps the team from making other moves.Which part of that is pompous BS?

  21. Natslifer - Feb 14, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    Which comments are those specifically Anon? I'm not Zimmy's fanboy but it seems like one thing he has done is gone about his business relatively quietly – if anyone deserves to have a great season or two as a National it's him.

  22. natsfan1a - Feb 14, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    While my head can see the points of dfh and jcj, my heart says "pay the man." (Well, technically, it says "pay the kid" because he'll always be that kid we drafted back in the day to me. :-))

  23. Anonymous - Feb 14, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    Well, Zim is out there looking for attention on his contract status. This is by design. He's working a negotiation angle. If all he wanted to do was get padid a decent salary that allows the club to pay other guys, then the deal would be already done: something like 5 yr/$75M extension. That would make him a Nat through 2019, at $15M per he's among the highest paid guys to every play 3B. But he's looking for much more than that. It's not pompous BS for him to be talking contract, but the stuff about how it is not fair to his teammates for him to be negotiating a contract during the season is some BS. It's not like his agent and Mike Rizzo talk turkey in the clubhouse while the bull pen guys are playing Gin Rummy.

  24. Tcostant - Feb 14, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    First – thanks for posting that link to Peter Gammons' article; it has me jacked up for some baseball!!!Zim – Every year it cost more and more. I do think we talkinga 5 year extention at $18M to $20M a year; it adds up quick. We know he won't sign for less than Werth is making; why should he?

  25. Ano.ymoose - Feb 14, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    Zimmermans comments of how his contract could distract his teammates seems self serving. He isn't Albert Pujols or Derek Jeter. It's not a big deal 2 years out.

  26. MFG - Feb 14, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    Anon -I don't think Zim is looking for attention about his contract. A reporter asks him a question and he answers it.Reporter: "So Zim, your contract is up in two years. How do you feel about an extension?"Zim: "Well, I want to play in DC for a long time, but I don't want to be a distraction to my teammates."It's not pompous, it's page 1 from the 2012 Crash Davis guide to Media Relations. You're gonna have to learn your clichés. You're gonna have to study them, you're gonna have to know them. They're your friends. Write this down: "I don't want to be a distraction."

  27. Tcostant - Feb 14, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    Hey Ano.ymoose -I'm just saying the Washington Nationals have paid a player last year $18M/year. A player we all think is worse than Zimmerman as a play, considering this and the "face of the franchise" thing; I don't think he takes less than $18M/year in any circumstance.

  28. FS - Feb 14, 2012 at 3:18 PM

    Tcostant, agree that it was a mistake but I hope RZ realizes that signing him to a deal of 20M per year is going to handcuff Nationals from making any other changes, even keeping SS and JZ around. I don't think he would do that. I think 7/100 should be good.

  29. Feel Wood - Feb 14, 2012 at 3:18 PM

    Zimmermans comments of how his contract could distract his teammates seems self serving. He isn't Albert Pujols or Derek Jeter. It's not a big deal 2 years out.It's not the contract negotiations that are a distraction. It's the media constantly harping on the contract that's the distraction – especially when they start writing panic stories a full year ahead of time, like Zuckerman and Kilgore are doing now. What Zimmerman and his agent are doing with this spring training deadline is telling the media to quit asking questions about the contract because they are not going to answer them. That doesn't mean negotiations won't continue, and it certainly doesn't mean the chances for a deal go down. The reason a deal isn't imminent at this point is not because they're not going to reach a deal. Both sides want this deal to happen, and the only hangup is price. That can't get straightened out until the season starts and Zimmerman has the chance to let his play dictate what the price will be. In essence, this is Zimmerman's walk year even though he has two years left. If he has the typically great walk year performance that a lot of guys have, the Nats will meet his price either before the season is over or shortly after. If he doesn't, he will sign for what the Nats are offering, which is still probably more than generous. To put it simply, if he has a blockbuster year he'll get a Matt Kemp contract, and if he doesn't he'll get a Jayson Werth deal. But now, one year out from the real deadline, there's no reason for either side to close the deal now.

  30. Rabbit - Feb 14, 2012 at 3:32 PM

    I do believe the Nationals are going to let Zimmerman go and bring up Rendon. It has looked like this for over a year now, in spite of all the smoke screens. Watch.

  31. Doug - Feb 14, 2012 at 3:33 PM

    Remember that Zim is a third baseman only because of an ill-advised 4-year contract given to Cristian Guzman. He could've been a shortstop. How valuable would he be then? I love watching Zim pounce on a bunt and whip that flawless sidearm throw to first, but if Rendon is ready and Desmond's progress stalls, why not try Zim at SS? His range and arm would be wasted at 1B.

  32. Nuke - Feb 14, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    Want to play… it's pretty boring.

  33. Not a troll - Feb 14, 2012 at 3:36 PM

    I agree with Feel Wood.I see no reason for the Nationals not to hold the line on spending big on Zimm when they don't know that he can put together another solid injury-free season. Both sides have incentive to see what 2012 holds for Zimm's health and stats.I'm not panicking. This is a non-story for this particular off-season.

  34. BullpenCatcher - Feb 14, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    Zim is a good player, is he a great player no, but he is good at his position. First, consider his injuries, he may not be durable once he gets over 30. Second, he is prone to make bad throws on easy plays so defensively he will not improve as father time catches up. Third, he needs to contribute consistently on offense, the walk-offs are nice but there are plenty of times when he pulls a weak ground ball that gets us ot of an inning. Before you crucify me, I am not saying we should not re-sign him, now or at all, but what I am saying is if Zim is looking for a Tulo contract that is not going to happen. The Nats should put a 4 year extension on the table for 60 million and say take it or leave it.

  35. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 14, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    Alot of us have stated all along that both Zim and the Nats would be foolish sign an extension prior to Spring Training.While, despite Zim's statements, the possibility exists that something could be hammered out prior the sesons start, it isn't the end of the world if it doesn't. And Zimm has encountered enough problems making a consistant throw from third base, so don't even think about shortstop.

  36. Sunderland - Feb 14, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    Salaries of MLB 3B's for 2011.http://content.usatoday.com/sportsdata/baseball/mlb/salaries/position/3B/2011ARod at $32M.The next 4 all at $14M+.

  37. Anonymous - Feb 14, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    Y do I keep reading Jackass Reid, don't know why wapo prompted him to columnist. Lipty,

  38. Sunderland - Feb 14, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    Rabbit said… I do believe the Nationals are going to let Zimmerman go and bring up Rendon. It has looked like this for over a year now, in spite of all the smoke screens. Watch. February 14, 2012 10:32 AM Rabbit you just love to tweak the Nats and Nats fans, don't you? That's all you do here."It's looked like this for over a year now." It's only been 8 months since they drafted Rendon. And prior to the draft, it did not seem likely in any way that Rendon would get drafted by the Nats.

  39. Anonymous - Feb 14, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    Jason Reid has a piece on Harper in the Post today. Dude knows nothing about baseball normally but this one is right in the wheelhouse of a Redskins writer: it's about dealing with the kid's ego. I want him in the minors for a while longer if only to avoid the drama. I just have a sense that everything that is going so well will blow up once the tweeting machine shows up in town.

  40. Feel Wood - Feb 14, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    And Zimm has encountered enough problems making a consistant throw from third base, so don't even think about shortstop.I can think of several shortstops who have moved to third base as they got older (Cal Ripken being a prime example) but has any aging third baseman ever made the switch to short?

  41. Anonymous - Feb 14, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    Zim was never going to be a SS in MLB. He played a handful of games at SS in AA ball in 2005 and clanked it up. He's 6'3" and 240 lbs. He was either playing 1B or 3B and his range and hands were good enough to play 3B, so there he landed. Cristian Guzman's contract(s), he never signed a 4 yr deal, had nothing to do with Zim not playing SS.dfh21

  42. Feel Wood - Feb 14, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    Jason Reid has a piece on Harper in the Post today. Dude knows nothing about baseball normally but this one is right in the wheelhouse of a Redskins writer: it's about dealing with the kid's ego.Before I read it, let me guess. Reid has been in a major league clubhouse.

  43. HHover - Feb 14, 2012 at 3:51 PM

    Fangraphs had a piece a few weeks ago on what would be a reasonable extension for Zim, and came up with an AAV of about $17M for 7+ years: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/the-cost-of-making-ryan-zimmerman-a-national-for-life/.I take the pts that dfh21 and jc5jy make about Zim's offense, but a .900+ OPS season is setting an almost ridiculously high bar. No qualifying 3B hit that well last year; Adrian Beltre was closest at .892, and only 3 other 3B were .850 or above. Zimm's career .834 OPS is respectable but not stellar for 3B.Of course, a lot of his value has come from his glove, and his defense will certainly be on the decline by the out-years of a 6-7+ year extension.

  44. Feel Wood - Feb 14, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    Cristian Guzman's contract(s), he never signed a 4 yr deal, had nothing to do with Zim not playing SS.Guzman's first deal, signed before the 2005 season, was 4yr/$16M. His second deal, covering 2009-10, was 2yr/$16M.

  45. JamesFan - Feb 14, 2012 at 4:00 PM

    Zim, so far, has been a very good player. If he is to be a great player, he needs to show it this year.Waiting for a better season is a high risk. What will his value be if he gets hurt in 2012 and is on the DL for several weeks? His value goes in the tank.It's in the interest of both sides to get this done. Give him a nice contract for 5-7 years with lots of incentives to jack up the value, and let's play some baseball.

  46. Leslie Nielsen - Feb 14, 2012 at 4:02 PM

    And don't call me Surely!

  47. Anonymous - Feb 14, 2012 at 4:07 PM

    HHover — good stuff. I think that the Nats only give Zim $17M per if he has a big year in 2012. $17M would make him the highest paid guy at the position (other than A-Rod). A .900 OPS is a high mark to hit, no doubt. But David Wright has posted an above .900 OPS a bunch of times, same for Kevin Youklis (both of those guys will be FA's in 2014 most likely); Beltre did it in 2010 and came close last year. Beltre got $16M per as a true FA coming off of his 2010 season after hitting .320, leading the league in doubles and knocking in 100 (plus making the All Star team and winning he Silver Slugger). Zim's just not an elite 3B performer to date, he's on the edge, but he's not there yet. He has it in him, but the Nats would be reckless to pay him more than Beltre got when Texas was competing against every other club in the bigs for his services, and I think Zim would be selling himself short if he took his current market extension value (which I would guess is something like $15-16M/yr 5 years). We'll see what happens.In any event Zim is looking for a monster year, which is good for the fans, and I am a fan. So, it's al lgood.Best 25 go North!dfh21

  48. Anonymous - Feb 14, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    Ouch, my bad. Thanks for the correction Feel Wood.dfh21

  49. Doug - Feb 14, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    Zim won't accept a 4-, 5-, or even 6-year deal that ends when he is in his early thirties. Maybe the annual value won't be as high as Tulo's, but his goal is a contract that pays him well through his prime and into his decline. Becoming a free agent at the beginning of his decline makes no sense for him.

  50. Steve M. - Feb 14, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    Some have mentioned that Zimmerman has to be paid more than Werth and I would agree. I just don't see anything over $18 million worth the money for a player who has averaged only 126 games per season the last 4 years. It is like paying someone to take off work 20% of the year.You also have to consider that several of those 126 games Zim appeared in were not at 100%.Personally, I hope it happens sooner than later but if it doesn't the Nats have many options.

  51. MicheleS - Feb 14, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    And before you all start bashing Reid (and I know it's too easy). He has a couple of good quotes from Rizzo… sounds like the Nats are aware of Harper's Twitter/Stupid comments, etc.Reid is only pointing out what MANY on this blog have. Kid needs to grow up a little. Not saying he has to be perfect or politically correct, but just needs to be a little cautious on what he says.Look what happened to the kid yesterday. Posts a twitter pic of his car and one of the 106.7 Knuckleheads calls slams him and calls Harper a Dbag. Now I have called him a Dbag, but I am not employeed by the teams Flagship station. Plus as long as he is on my team, I will root for him, the second he is gone he will be treated like any other opposing player.

  52. RPrecupjr - Feb 14, 2012 at 4:20 PM

    To continue a theme:Pete Rose, 4256 hits, 0 feet first slides, 24-year career, 17 years 600+ ABs

  53. Tcostant - Feb 14, 2012 at 4:22 PM

    Bottom line I really believe he will not sign a deal now for less a year than Werth's average yearly amount of $18M. He just won't do it, to much pride (and why should he pay for the Nats error there). So if you want to risk getting him as a free agent, in order to maybe get him at less than $18M/year; it a huge risk.Here is why. Let say right now we can extent him for 5 years at $18M/per or $90M; that is a lot better than waiting 2 years and then having to offer more years – 6 or 7 years, even if it is less than $18M per (and it probably will be more).Just extent him now at $18M-$20M per for 5 years and be done with it, and it will likely be the better deal.

  54. HHover - Feb 14, 2012 at 4:22 PM

    dfh21I see the comparison to Beltre, but as others have pointed out, Zimm and the club are also going to be using Werth as a comparable too. On the one hand, Werth was a clear over-pay; on the other hand, it did set a bar for the Nats.As for Zim's offense–we were talking about OPS, but I did want to note that he stacks up better by some of the advance metrics, and if we average the last few years together (as opposed to looking at career best).Over the last 3 years, Zimm has ranked 3d among qualifying 3B in wRC+, behind only Youklis and Longoria.

  55. Sunderland - Feb 14, 2012 at 4:23 PM

    Fro the Reid piece, this is a pretty funny Rizzo quote about Harper. "He wants to be a Washington National for the length of his contract."

  56. Wally - Feb 14, 2012 at 4:27 PM

    I think the defensive value point by HHover is right, but I don't agree that it has to decline until his mid 30's. It is about quickness, not speed, so if he keeps up the core work he should be fine.But if they give him a big contract, there is no way that they move him to 1b. His bat essentially translates to Adam Laroche at 1B.

  57. Feel Wood - Feb 14, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    Keep in mind that when extensions are signed they typically buy out the remaining years of a player's current contract, with a raise built in. Zim makes $12M this year, $14M in 2013. If they extend him now, change that to $14-15M in 2012, $16-18M in 2013, add two years to the "real" contract length and go from there. But if they wait until next offseason, they're building the new deal off of only the last year of the old deal, providing more risk mitigation for the Nats as well as more of an opportunity for Zimmerman to really cash in if he has a blockbuster 2012. The more you look at the situation, the more you realize how wrong the press is in saying that now is the crucial time for this deal to happen.

  58. Anonymous - Feb 14, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    Fro the Reid piece, this is a pretty funny Rizzo quote about Harper. "He wants to be a Washington National for the length of his contract."There is something to be said for that. Felipe Lopez for instance clearly did not want to be a Washington National for the length of his contract.

  59. Anonymous - Feb 14, 2012 at 4:51 PM

    If pride in being his club's highest paid player is really important to Ryan than he better be in the MVP discussion come September.dfh21

  60. Anonymous - Feb 14, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    It just does not make sense for the Nats to pay above market money to Zim — why should Zim make more money than Beltre did as a true FA? or more than Tulo on his extension of less than $16M AAV? — especially when the Nats have him under control for 2 years and he's been less than healthy as a horse year in and year out. Rizzo would be an idiot to throw a bunch of money at Zim now unless he was getting a discount on the reasonable projected production for his 3B.

  61. PAY TO PLAY - Feb 14, 2012 at 5:12 PM

    MicheleS, good point on the 106.7 Knucklehead. I think his name is Chad Dukes. He enjoys controversy as it creates ratings. Dukes is a DBag IMHO.

  62. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Feb 14, 2012 at 5:23 PM

    I'm in the minority here for sure, but I don't think long-term deal will happen in 2012, and maybe not ever. Nothing against Zim personally, great guy, all that, but he has several things working against him, plus another (Rendon) which is out of his control.1. Long-term health. He seems brittle to me.2. Throwing issues. I think he's one step ahead of being the next Chuck Knoblauch.3. As has been noted, there are a lot of above-average third basemen. He's one of them. I don't think there's a whole lot of difference between Zim and, say, Casey McGehee, to name one of many. Third base is a fill-around-the-edges position, literally, for elite teams.4. The Nationals appear tone-deaf as far as making their mark in the community, offseason appearances, etc. Zim excels at this sort of stuff, very erudite, self-effacing, etc. But those attributes are totally lost on this team, which does zero offseason marketing.For all those reasons, plus the Rendon factor, I say Zim's contract is a low-priority issue for Rizzo & Co.Just my opinion. I could be wrong. And I do love the guy at the plate with two out in the ninth, down by a run…

  63. PAY TO PLAY - Feb 14, 2012 at 5:24 PM

    The White Sox announced that they have agreed to sign Kosuke Fukudome to a one-year, $1MM contract that includes a club option for 2013.

  64. Anonymous - Feb 14, 2012 at 5:29 PM

    I think that it's $500K in 2012 with a buyout in 2013 of $500K (or pay him $3.5M for 2013). Nice signing for the Chi Sox.dfh21

  65. Mark'd - Feb 14, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    Kosuke would have been an upgrade over Ankiel as an outfielder

  66. jcj5y - Feb 14, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    I know you're just trying to push buttons when you compare Zim to McGehee.

  67. Steve M. - Feb 14, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    Alls quiet on the Lannan front. I guess that trade that was supposed to happen right after EJax was signed (per sources) was never credible.For all we know Lannan may end up the $5 million man pitching in Syracuse and waiting for an opportunity.NatsJack, has there been a Lannan sighting in Viera?

  68. MicheleS - Feb 14, 2012 at 5:51 PM

    Let's all take a deep breathe on Rendon. The kid has not played a single inning of Pro Ball and he has SHOULDER issues. He may be able to hit with that shoulder (not like LaRoche did), but can he THROW?

  69. Anonymous - Feb 14, 2012 at 6:02 PM

    Lannan looks to have bulked up over the offseason. He's bigger than he's ever been. Or perhaps he married a midget.

  70. Hopeful2012 - Feb 14, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    Interesting comments by most of you, it got me thinking of about Rendon and Zim.IF Rendon is healhty (the if is still big there) and if Zim continues to have throwing issues this year, do you move Zim to 1B and bring up Rendon to play 3B in 2013? A ngeotiate a deal with Zim based on his performance against other 1B rather than 3B!? Obviously not something Zim and his hubris would take lightly but I think a position change to 1B would add some years to his productivity.

  71. DWS - Feb 14, 2012 at 6:14 PM

    Werth was overpay and Zim knows it. Impressions are that he does not want to handcuff the club. What's not to like unless we are being misinformed?Not panic time, yet. Rendon is a non-factor.Reid was right on Harper. Actions speak louder than words or tweets. Smack a Cliff Lee curve ball and I'll be a believer.

  72. Drew - Feb 14, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    Xavier Nadyshrugging off team number eight with nary a care.Like underwearSabean crumpetsWould he invest, who'd have guessed, in the latest junk Bonds?(Two Tommy Johns.)All the old outfieldersWhere do they all come from?All the old outfieldersWhere do they all belong?

  73. NatsNut - Feb 14, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    I cracked up when I saw this too.Sunderland said… Fro the Reid piece, this is a pretty funny Rizzo quote about Harper. "He wants to be a Washington National for the length of his contract."

  74. Feel Wood - Feb 14, 2012 at 6:19 PM

    Reid was right on Harper. Actions speak louder than words or tweets.Reid is totally wrong. Harper's tweets are completely innocuous. They would be as irrelevant as any other 19 year old's tweets if the press didn't constantly harp on them.Harper should just block dolts like Steinberg and Reid from following him on Twitter, then watch them scream.

  75. lesatcsc - Feb 14, 2012 at 6:27 PM

    Why is there so much drama associated with this topic? He's signed for two more years. Both sides are weighing the risks of doing something now versus waiting. If Zim misses 40 games again this year, his value goes way down, if he has a monster year and is healthy, his value goes way up. Both the Nats and Zim probably have a number in mind that makes it worth taking the chance now versus waiting one more year. If the numbers match, they'll have a deal, if they don't, they'll wait. It's simple. Rendon gives the Nats leverage now, and if he has a monster start in MiLB. They lose that leverage if he hits .210 and has to be moved to 1B because his shoulder in buggered. Same risk as Zim's performance in 2012 for both sides. Anyway you slice it, RZim is going to be making a lot of money this summer.By the way, does anyone know what the status on Rendon's shoulder is? I see Michele S blogged that he has "SHOULDER issues". The injury was a year ago and didn't require surgery. I don't see why he wouldn't be 100% but I haven't seen any reports one way or the other. Has anyone heard anything?

  76. MicheleS - Feb 14, 2012 at 6:32 PM

    NatsJack…I am linguistically challenged (it's been a long time since high school Spanish). Can you interpret the Spanish Tweets with Ramos/Flores?

  77. Wally - Feb 14, 2012 at 6:34 PM

    Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said… I don't think there's a whole lot of difference between Zim and, say, Casey McGehee, to name one of many. Yikes. Umm … nah.

  78. upperdeck4 - Feb 14, 2012 at 6:45 PM

    Whatever people think about Reid, he was the LA Times beat reporter for the Dodgers for a number of years. He is not a baseball naif.

  79. jd - Feb 14, 2012 at 6:49 PM

    As Steve M. said there are lots of options and things will play themselves out. There is zero reason to panic. From everything I read Rendon will not be a good fit for 2nd base; I have thought all along that Rendon will play 3rd base for the Nats or someone else. The Zim of 2008 and 2009 with his 14.5 combined WAR is definitely an elite top level players (I am not interested in OPS which is a flawed stat which overvalues home runs and undervalues OBP); I think he's a better overall player at a more valuable position than Prince Fielder and look at the deal Fielder just got. I don't have a problem with 7 at $20 mil followed by a trade of Rendon for a missing piece but the thought of trading Zim next year in a blockbuster is also not completely nuts.

  80. jd - Feb 14, 2012 at 6:51 PM

    I meant 2009 and 2010.

  81. Kenz aFan - Feb 14, 2012 at 6:52 PM

    I'm sorry, but face of the franchise or not, Ryan Zimmerman isn't all some fans made him out to be. Sure sign him to an extension, but he certainly doesn't deserves a better contract that the one Troy Tulowitzki signed with the Rockies (10 years at about $160 million). With all due respect to Ryan, Tulowitzki is a much better hitter, has more consistent power, and better overall numbers than does Zimmerman. Plus he less injury prone and plays a much more key position at SS. The only real comparison is that they are both equally strong defensively, so in the overall picture, Tulowitzki wins by a wide margin. As far as I'm concerned, face of the franchise or not, if he wont settle for anything less than $160 million of the next 8 years, let him walk. the Nats have the means to replace him when his contract is up anyway, as Anthony Rendon will be ready for the show by then.If he's not willing to sign at a reasonable price, let him walk and use the money saved to beef up the team in other areas after the 2013 season.

  82. Anonymous - Feb 14, 2012 at 6:58 PM

    Sure sign him to an extension, but he certainly doesn't deserves a better contract that the one Troy Tulowitzki signed with the Rockies (10 years at about $160 million).As far as I'm concerned, face of the franchise or not, if he wont settle for anything less than $160 million of the next 8 years, let him walk.8/160 is a worse contract than 10/160? Now I see why you're not Kenz aMathematician.

  83. Anonymous - Feb 14, 2012 at 7:03 PM

    Maybe the argument is that there is not a $15M per year difference between Zim and McGehee (such that the money being spent someplace else is more valuable and or not having $100M locked up in that position, maybe)?In any event, there is pretty much no reason for the Nats to give Zim a long term $20M AAV contract, Zuck is nutso if he thinks that in today's world Zim is worth north of that, because as it stands now there is no way Zim would get that from another club even if he were a FA (it only makes sense to extend him if there is some discount to the club).dfh21

  84. Steve M. - Feb 14, 2012 at 7:04 PM

    Anon @1:58, not sure from whose perspective you are comparing the math on. I agree with Kenz and had hoped Zim would sign a Tulo type of deal averaging $16 million only now you have to expect Zim to want to eclipse Jayson Werth's $18 million a year.I think $18.25 a year is what Zim is looking for. Handing him $20 million a year is giving away the bank since $16 to $18 really is the range.

  85. Mark'd - Feb 14, 2012 at 7:11 PM

    SteveM, so what you are saying is by overpaying Werth, they have to overpay Zimmerman.At least Werth showed up every day to the ballpark. Zimmerman spent much of his rehab time treating it like a vacation. Werth has taken over the leadership role.

  86. jd - Feb 14, 2012 at 7:13 PM

    'Tulowitzki is a much better hitter, has more consistent power, and better overall numbers than does Zimmerman.' Really; based what? Tulo (great player) has better power playing at Coors; Werth had better player playing at Citizens park. Overall Tulo never had better than a 6.5 WAR where Zim had 2 years over 7. I would agree that they are comparable players but to say that Tulo is 'much better' is opinion at best.

  87. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 14, 2012 at 7:14 PM

    MicheleS spoke the truth…Let's all take a deep breathe on Rendon. I wish him well and all, but again, he has played exactly as much professional baseball as I have. Cool your jets, and park the TARDIS. You don't know when he'll be ready, and neither does anybody else.

  88. Anonymous - Feb 14, 2012 at 7:14 PM

    Werth's deal has nothing to do with Zim's market value.dfh21

  89. Ray - Feb 14, 2012 at 7:14 PM

    Pay the man. Or the Yankees will. Period.

  90. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 14, 2012 at 7:17 PM

    I am linguistically challenged (it's been a long time since high school Spanish). Can you interpret the Spanish Tweets with Ramos/Flores? Yo lo tengo. Post 'em.

  91. jd - Feb 14, 2012 at 7:19 PM

    Mark'd said'Werth has taken over the leadership role' God help us.

  92. Steve M. - Feb 14, 2012 at 7:20 PM

    Mark'd, essentially that is what I am thinking as far as Zim vs. Werth. Keep in mind, Rizzo may be thinking quite differently that Werth's contract has nothing to do with Zim's deal.My understanding is that Brodie Van Wagenen emailed Mike Rizzo a proposal as the bottomline with a take it or leave it attitude a few weeks ago and that was done prior to Prince Fielder signing with Detroit. I would think with no major deals happening except possibly a trade, Rizzo should have had plenty of time to accept Zim's proposal or not.Seems to me it was a "not" and this will carry on into next off-season. With 6+ years of cost control on Rendon, Rizzo may have a different mindset on the future at 3rd base.

  93. Steve M. - Feb 14, 2012 at 7:22 PM

    Anonymous said… Werth's deal has nothing to do with Zim's market value.dfh21 February 14, 2012 2:14 PM You would think each deal is a mutually exclusive event. Players use those types of deals all the time to justify their value. While I agree with you it really shouldn't matter, realistically it will come into play.

  94. Tcostant - Feb 14, 2012 at 7:24 PM

    Tulowitzki deal was buying out some artibration years and therefore is not comparable. Werth's deal has everything to do with the Zimm deal, it's the starting point (at least on a annual basis) of what the Nationals feel their best hitter is worth on the free agent market.This deal doesn't get done if any offer is less tha $18M per year.

  95. Steve M. - Feb 14, 2012 at 7:26 PM

    jd said… Mark'd said'Werth has taken over the leadership role'God help us. February 14, 2012 2:19 PM From what I heard, it was a veteran leadership committee of Werth, Stairs, and Zim last Spring Training with Zim being less vocal and when Zim had his surgery during the season Werth and Stairs really took over the clubhouse which we all heard was the cause of the problems with Riggles.

  96. MicheleS - Feb 14, 2012 at 7:29 PM

    Sec3:@WRamosC3 No puedo esperar para entrenamientos primaverales! Te vere en Viera la semana entrante.I think the one with Flores was "when are you getting to Viera?"..Whose got the link to the Google translator?

  97. PAY TO PLAY - Feb 14, 2012 at 7:31 PM

    I always felt that after the Nats signed Werth it would cost the Nats a couple million a year extra when Zim's contract came up for extension.Also keep in mind that if you do a contract extension, Zim has 2 years left of his old contract. If the Nats buy out those final 2 years they are giving Zim a substantial increase which makes it similar to Tulowitzki in that regard.

  98. John C. - Feb 14, 2012 at 7:31 PM

    This is an issue right now because … well, we're still five days short of Viera and there's not much else to talk about. For all the reasons given above, I'd be shocked if Zim signed an extension before the 2011 season. It's neither in his best interests nor the Nationals'. I also don't believe for a minute that Rendon moves Zim off third base. Zim is a legit Gold Glover (his "throwing issues" were simultaneous recovery from an abdominal injury while working out his mechanics) with a Silver Slugger bat. You don't move that for a maybe.For that matter, I don't know what jd is reading; I've never seen anyone that said Rendon doesn't project to 2b. He's on the short side for 1b, but he's the same size as Steve Garvey, and Garvey was a perennial all-star and two time MVP. The Nats' best case scenario is that both Zim and Rendon are awesome, in which case Rendon moves across the infield to whichever position works best. If Harper can play CF long term, then Rendon could also play LF. If he can hit, he'll have a place to play.And finally, I doubt that Zim gets a Werth level contract. Why? Because not many overpay like the Nationals did there. You say his feelings are going to be hurt? What, so he's going to turn down $17 million a year from the Nationals to play for $16 million a year from someone else? That's some really expensive pride.Man, the season can't come fast enough …

  99. Steve M. - Feb 14, 2012 at 7:34 PM

    MicheleS: I can wait for spring training! I'll see you next week in Viera.

  100. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 14, 2012 at 7:34 PM

    You don't need google for that one. "I can't wait for spring training! I'll see you in Viera next week."

  101. Anonymous - Feb 14, 2012 at 7:34 PM

    If Zim is saying he won't play in DC unless he makes more than Jayson Werth, but he'll play elsewhere for market money, which is likely less than Werth's AAV, because the market for 3B's is not that high and Zim has some proving to do that he's an elitye guy, etc., then Zim's nuts and the highest bidder can have him. There is no reason for the Nats to over-pay for a guy they have locked up, and Werth money is over-paying. dfh21

  102. Steve M. - Feb 14, 2012 at 7:35 PM

    MicheleS, let me try that again, Wilson wrote:I can't wait for Spring Training! I'll see you next week in Viera.

  103. natsfan1a - Feb 14, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    Lannan's 6'4" and she's not. I am "height-challenged" and I'm not. In the immortal words of Dmitri Young, whoop de woo. And I think she's cute. :-)Anonymous said… Lannan looks to have bulked up over the offseason. He's bigger than he's ever been. Or perhaps he married a midget. February 14, 2012 1:02 PM

  104. natsfan1a - Feb 14, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    er, and "he's" not.

  105. natsfan1a - Feb 14, 2012 at 7:39 PM

    Daggum it, I should never edit online. "and my husband's not"– 30 –

  106. Anonymous - Feb 14, 2012 at 7:40 PM

    Best 25 go North!dfh21

  107. MicheleS - Feb 14, 2012 at 7:41 PM

    Trying to be technical.. Let's see if My Valentie works:Hyperlink Code

  108. natsfan1a - Feb 14, 2012 at 7:43 PM

    Excellent coding work, MicheleS. Nice video, too. :-)

  109. MicheleS - Feb 14, 2012 at 7:43 PM

    The link works (just need to figure out how to rename it)!!! And It's My Valentine (edit) to all the RZIM Fans

  110. Eugene in Oregon - Feb 14, 2012 at 7:44 PM

    I am more-or-less agnostic on the question of whether we need to sign Mr. Zimmerman to an extension this year or not; ditto on the amount he should be paid (I'll leave that to his agent and the Nats' management). That said, I do agree that Troy Tulowitzki is a reasonable point of comparison.But if we're going to use Mr. Tulowitzki as a comp, we need to be factual in our analysis. Kenz a Fan argued that: "Tulowitzki is a much better hitter, has more consistent power, and better overall numbers than does Zimmerman. Plus he less injury prone…"jd has already addressed the question of who's a better hitter; let me address the assertion that Mr. Zimmerman is more injury prone.Mr. Zimmerman has played six full seasons in the NL (I exclude his September 2005 call-up). In those six seasons, he has played 162 games once, 157 games twice, 142 games another season, and had two significantly injury-shortened seasons of 101 and 106 games. He has thus averaged 137.5 games in his full seasons.Mr. Tulowitzki has played five full seasons (again, we'll exclude his September call-up in 2006). In those seasons, he has played 155 games, 151 games, 143 games, and has had two significantly injury-shortened seasons of 122 games and 101 games. He has thus averaged 134.4 games in his full seasons.I don't believe those numbers support the argument that Mr. Tulowitzki is "less injury prone" than Mr. Zimmerman.

  111. Steve M. - Feb 14, 2012 at 7:46 PM

    John C. said… And finally, I doubt that Zim gets a Werth level contract. Why? Because not many overpay like the Nationals did there. You say his feelings are going to be hurt? What, so he's going to turn down $17 million a year from the Nationals to play for $16 million a year from someone else? That's some really expensive pride.Man, the season can't come fast enough … February 14, 2012 2:31 PM Maybe thats why the contract hasn't gotten done because Rizzo agrees with you. Personally, I agree with you, but maybe Zim doesn't. Players get a lot of bad advice from those closest to them and their agents and many bad decisions are made based on ego tripping. They usually don't realize it until its too late and hindsight tells them what they did wrong. Look at Ryan Madson, Roy Oswalt, Edwin Jackson and a few others as recipients of WHOOPS…..

  112. natsfan1a - Feb 14, 2012 at 7:47 PM

    MicheleS, after you've pasted in the URL and put the closing quotation mark and bracket after it, just type in your hyperlink name. Follow the name with an "/a" that has a set of brackets around it.

  113. Anonymous - Feb 14, 2012 at 7:50 PM

    Anon @1:58, not sure from whose perspective you are comparing the math on.Kenz noMathWhiz said Zim is not worth 10/160, so if he won't take 8/160 then don't sign him. Don't see why you're confused. Perhaps that makes you GM material.

  114. JD - Feb 14, 2012 at 7:58 PM

    John C. Rendon has had 2 substantial injuries (Shoulder and Ankle; it's not a great idea to put him in a new position and a traffic position at that based on that alone. It's just my opinion but I don't think you will see bot of them in the lineup together for the long haul and there is nothing wrong in converting a strength into say an excellent center fielder.

  115. Feel Wood - Feb 14, 2012 at 8:04 PM

    My understanding is that Brodie Van Wagenen emailed Mike Rizzo a proposal as the bottomline with a take it or leave it attitude a few weeks ago and that was done prior to Prince Fielder signing with Detroit. I would think with no major deals happening except possibly a trade, Rizzo should have had plenty of time to accept Zim's proposal or not.That van Wagenen proposal is basically the "Buy It Now" price for an eBay auction that doesn't end until spring 2013. A lot can happen between now and then. Zim could tear it up in 2012, in which case Rizzo might accept that Buy It Now price anytime along the way. Or Zim could have a bad year or get hurt again or both, in which case van Wagenen might abandon the Buy It Now price and let the auction play its course, meaning Zimmerman signs at Rizzo's price, provided it's more than van Wagenen's reserve amount. And I guarantee you that the reserve amount is less than the Buy It Now amount. Might even be exactly what Rizzo is offering now.

  116. NatsBrat - Feb 14, 2012 at 8:17 PM

    On another note, a sportswriter named Tony DeMarco has debunked the quality of the Nats' starting rotation and placed them 14th in MLB ratings.That's the kind of professional understanding you get from a sportswriter who is 187/200 in the sportswriter ratings!Maybe DeMarco should consider covering another sport, or delivering take out Chinese.

  117. Tcostant - Feb 14, 2012 at 8:19 PM

    dfh21 said –> "If Zim is saying he won't play in DC unless he makes more than Jayson Werth, but he'll play elsewhere for market money, which is likely less than Werth's AAV, because the market for 3B's is not that high and Zim has some proving to do that he's an elitye guy, etc., then Zim's nuts and the highest bidder can have him."Close – I think we're saying he won't sign an extention now at least then $18M a year (I straight extention, not buy out the last two years). That doen't mean, if we indeed don't sign him now and the market is below $18M/year at free agent time, he still might be re-signed then. I still think this is highly unlikely as it almost always cost more later than earlier (unless a majot injury or decline happens).

  118. Anonymous - Feb 14, 2012 at 8:31 PM

    There are some reasons that the HOF is light on 3Bs; it is just not a historically premier position. The Nats could TRADE Zim for a boatload of talent and look for something closer to a replacement level guy at 3B (even if Rednon is not the guy for the position). Yanks did well with Scott Brosius and Charlie Hayes, as an example. Zim has to be concerned that a trade is a potnetial eventuality. Zim is Seatlle?

  119. Tcostant - Feb 14, 2012 at 8:55 PM

    Why would he worry, he'll be a free agent in 2 years. Don't discount the Baltimore factor, close to home, hitters park and a certain owner has been trying to rebiuld the early Nationals anyway. That's why the Nats need to make an extention offer over $18M a year.

  120. baseballswami - Feb 14, 2012 at 8:58 PM

    Once again, it seems that Zim's fan family is harder on him than outsiders. On the MLB Network's top 10 right now show for third basemen Zim was listed top five. John Hart, who is a serious baseball guru had him top 3.That's even with last year's missed time. Even the guys that only know about the yankees, red sox, etc.had him as top 10. I think he and only one other guy ( forgot who) were National League guys. He is a class act always, a gifted defender, great with the public and the media, seems to be a great clubhouse guy and a clutch hitter. Some of you have very short memories. Watch Zim and then watch some of the others who play there – this season there will be a few that really don't even know how to play there. They don't grow on trees or drop out of the sky.Prospects are just that – they may or may not work out. We need to keep him right where he is for a long time.

  121. Cease the Opportunity - Feb 14, 2012 at 9:02 PM

    Y'all. This is a business. Simple as that. It behooves the Nationals given Zimms productivity and health the past couple of years to wait out the season unless Zimm is willing to accept whatever terms the Nationals are offering; if they have actually put an offer on the table, which none of us really knows…

  122. Bowdenball - Feb 14, 2012 at 9:04 PM

    Tcostant-Why would he worry? Well, he missed 60 games last season due to injury and also spent time on the DL in 2010 and 2008. If it happens again in 2012, his value declines dramatically. If you want to see what an injury history costs you, look at Jose Reyes. When healthy his WAR is comparable to Fielder's, yet he just signed a 6 year 106 million dollar deal while Fielder signed a 9 year $200 million plus deal.

  123. jcj5y - Feb 14, 2012 at 9:06 PM

    I don't think too much weight should be placed on Zim's position. The real question there is how much defensive value he gives the team. Obviously, the ceiling for defensive value is a lot lower for a third baseman than it is for a centerfielder or a shortstop, but Zim for me is the most valuable defensive third baseman in baseball, or close to it. That factors into how much he's going to get in a contract.Whether you can win a championship with a mediocre third baseman, as the Yankees did in the 90s, is irrelevant to Zim's contract. If you get extra value from other positions, you can always win with an average performer in one or two spots.

  124. Anonymous - Feb 14, 2012 at 9:11 PM

    Why should the Nats pay above FA market money for truly elite 3B's to take on Zim's current risk that he has a bad injury or does not play very well before he gets to market? It makes no sense. Anyway, I am just recycling the same jazz over and over, so I will now, finally, shut up.Best 25 go North!dfh21

  125. Anonymous - Feb 14, 2012 at 9:20 PM

    A better example is Reyes versus Crawford, both speed guys who hit for good average. Crawford's general strong health earned him some money that Reyes was not going to get due to injury risk.

  126. Tcostant - Feb 14, 2012 at 9:32 PM

    Bowdenball said… Why would he worry? Well, he missed 60 games last season due to injury and also spent time on the DL in 2010 and 2008. If it happens again in 2012, his value declines dramatically. That is correct, buy Reyes still got WAY more than the Mets would have offered him two years earlier. The market is trending upward, especially with all these regional TV deals. I hate to say it, but $18M a year will look like a bargin in two years. No kidding…

  127. Bowdenball - Feb 14, 2012 at 9:45 PM

    TcostantThe market trends up if you stay healthy and continue to perform. Reyes did so. Not everybody does- see for example Nick Markakis, who is making far more money on his extension than he would have if he'd waited until free agency. Or another example- Grady Sizemore. Imagine how much wealthier he'd be today if he'd done an extension with the Indians a couple years ago.It goes both ways.

  128. whatsanattau - Feb 14, 2012 at 9:57 PM

    Zim good. Keep.Now. Later. Pay. When not matter.Keep.

  129. Tcostant - Feb 14, 2012 at 10:00 PM

    Bowdenball – I get it. But injuries are part of baseball and a Sizemore type injury can be insured for. Either you want him or don't. I want him to stay and I sdon't want to "hope" to get him cheaper because of some injury. Zimm has enough tend years to avoid a Markakis like decline. I'm just saying this is the market and if you let him get to free agency, someone will likely pay more. I'd like him to be here, but I agree not at any cost.

  130. psdfx - Feb 14, 2012 at 10:14 PM

    re: Zim's future contract, the thing that might get VERY expensive, though we'd have to go deeper than expected into the playoffs THIS year to begin to make observations is that he has always hit very well in big situations (walk off home runs, etc.). The ability to relax when the pressure is at the highest, and to see success (which brings added confidence, a more relaxed demeanor, etc) seems to me to be a great strength and one that would be very valuable in the playoffs. I know that he will have his next contract (or be destined for free agency) before he proves to be our version of Mr. October, but it really would not surprise me if he turned out to be one of those guys who hit much better in the post season than in the regular season.

  131. NatsLady - Feb 14, 2012 at 10:33 PM

    I don't understand what is the big deal with Harper's tweets. I was at the gym last night with nothing to do but look at Twitter and he tweeted out that DC fans should "get to know him" and "ask him questions." I thought that was sweet. And what about the car? It was just a white car, am I missing something? He tweets a picture of what he's going to eat, or what products he's pushing… I've never seen him tweet a mean or rude thing.

  132. MicheleS - Feb 14, 2012 at 10:51 PM

    TV alertBryce discussion on club house confidentialBaseball tonight talks about Worth and the lineup

  133. Gonat - Feb 14, 2012 at 11:09 PM

    MicheleS, Brian Kenney's thoughts on Werth gives some hope he will improve.

  134. Eugene in Oregon - Feb 14, 2012 at 11:27 PM

    psdfx @ 5:14,I know that Mr. Zimmerman seems to hit well in close games, clutch situations, etc., but he pretty much just hits normally. As do almost all hitters. But since he's a good hitter, Mr. Zimmerman gets his share of walk-off hits and HRs. And you remember those walk-off home runs because they were, well, walk-off home runs. You don't remember the times he grounded out or flied out or walked or just got a single to keep an inning alive (the latter two also potentially important contributions, of course).Take a look at Mr. Zimmerman's numbers (using Baseball-Reference's definitions; FanGraphs may be a little different, but will tell essentially the same story):Career: .288/.355/.4792 outs, RISP: .269/.386/.462Late & Close: .269/.359/.459Tie game: .282/.344/.463Within 1 run: .288/.353/.495High leverage: .283/.354/.470Medium leverage: .297/.363/.497Low leverage: .285/.348/.469Ninth inning: .277/.337/.517Mr. Zimmerman have more HRs per AB in the 9th inning of games than in any other inning (hence the higher slugging percentage), but his SLG is actually highest in the 4th inning. And while his 16 ninth inning HRs suggest a flare for the dramatic, he's effectively the same hitter in so-called 'clutch' or 'high-leverage' at-bats as he is in any other situation. The numbers above are all well within the range of what you'd expect in any given at-bat based on his career BA/OBP/OPS averages.And to be clear, I'm not criticizing him. But when he comes to bat in the ninth and gets a game-winning hit, he's not being 'clutch' as much as he's just being the normal Mr. Zimmerman.

  135. Eugene in Oregon - Feb 14, 2012 at 11:30 PM

    Sorry; penultimate para above should begin:"Mr. Zimmerman does, indeed, have more HRs…"

  136. Section 222 - Feb 14, 2012 at 11:41 PM

    Who is this Mr. Zimmerman? Does Ryan Zimmerman's Dad play baseball too? :-)

  137. Anonymous - Feb 14, 2012 at 11:43 PM

    "a flare for the dramatic"?Is he signaling to actors?Methinks you meant "flair for the dramatic."Flare/flair. maybe it's all the same. I mean, he does have a bit of a gay vibe and all…lol…

  138. MicheleS - Feb 14, 2012 at 11:43 PM

    GonatHopefully Brian Kenney is right about Jayson! And I will be wearing my Werth jersey with pride!

  139. Anonymous - Feb 14, 2012 at 11:51 PM

    Eugene — you always bring such a measured and reasoned take. Love it.dfh21

  140. natsfan1a - Feb 15, 2012 at 12:10 AM

    In nutshell. Is good.Me likey.whatsanattau said… Zim good. Keep. Now. Later. Pay. When not matter. Keep. February 14, 2012 4:57 PM

  141. natsfan1a - Feb 15, 2012 at 12:18 AM

    Was looking for a baseball valentine (don't ask) and came across this site. Wish I'd found it last summer, as they have some pretty cute baby stuff. I'm pretty sure that Brian might need some of these. :-)

  142. DWS - Feb 15, 2012 at 12:23 AM

    Bryce Harper invested in black wheels.Ryan Zimmerman is a free agent year after next.Next subject please.

  143. Wally - Feb 15, 2012 at 12:36 AM

    Well, I can't resist one last hot stove wish list (ok, three but is a package deal):1) trade John L to LAA for Maicer Izturis2) Wang to MIN for Ben Revere3) sign Oswalt for 1/$10m.2 seems like it has close to 0% chance to happen, but I would love that rotation.

  144. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 12:41 AM

    Love Harper's black wheels. OK, I gotta say this: Zim's not worth the big contract yet, and it's obvious to everyone but Mark Zuckerman and Adam Kilgore, two guys who want nothing more than the current Nats guys to remain Nats forever to make their lives easier. Track the posts. Mark and Adam are of the same opinion almost every time urging restraint to trade guys away and hoping for extensions for the current crew (often the same basic content on the same day for both of them, and not due to some event of the day that moves the conversation to the topic). Pudge, Livan, every player who might already know their names deserves a second, third chance to stay. It's becoming ridiculous. What player of note gets real, honest criticism from Zuckerman? Has Rizzo ever made a mistake? Has a real blunder ever happened? Not just a mention from Zuckerman of what may be perceived by some as a questionable move, but something Zuckerman himself thinks is dumb? I don’t remember many, if any. Vanilla is not most people's favorite flavor. Zuckerman needs to have an opinion that at least sometimes runs contrary to the Nats official line in order for him to have any lasting relevance.

  145. The Dude Abides - Feb 15, 2012 at 1:06 AM

    Hey! I think Boswell wrote that last post.

  146. Bad haircut with a quarter said - Feb 15, 2012 at 1:22 AM

    I think you're right Dude

  147. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 15, 2012 at 1:28 AM

    Zuckerman needs to have an opinion that at least sometimes runs contrary to the Nats official line in order for him to have any lasting relevance. He's not a columnist, he's a beat writer. Nothing personal, but it's your opinions that lack relevance, not his. IMO.

  148. HHover - Feb 15, 2012 at 1:32 AM

    If it's really Boz, he'll be back tomorrow to say exactly the opposite.

  149. baseballswami - Feb 15, 2012 at 2:08 AM

    Seriously – Clubhouse Confidential was entirely about Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth today. All of this attention is just strange. I am used to the Nats being totally ignored. It was quite exciting, though! I am soooo ready!

  150. MicheleS - Feb 15, 2012 at 2:27 AM

    I like vanilla

  151. Kenz aFan - Feb 15, 2012 at 4:20 AM

    Anonymous @1:58 PM said"8/160 is a worse contract than 10/160? Now I see why you're not Kenz aMathematician."For one, I said settle for anything less than $160 for 8 years. Meaning, Mr. Grade 4 reading expert, if he wants to average $20 million a year or more, then he's not deserving or worth the money and to let him walk.As for my not being a mathematician, wanna guess one of the things I do for a living? And doing quite well at it, I might add. PutzIf you're willing to pay Zimmerman an average of more than $20 million a year over the next 8 to 10 years, then you can have him, because he's not worth it.

  152. Kenz aFan - Feb 15, 2012 at 4:30 AM

    Anonymous @2:50PM said…"Kenz noMathWhiz said Zim is not worth 10/160, so if he won't take 8/160 then don't sign him."If you are going to quote me, then QUOTE ME, but do NOT switch or put words in my mouth. One thing is for sure, and that's that you're very good at proving that you cant read worth a darn.BTW, grow some balls and get a name and stop hiding behind your Anonymity.

  153. FS - Feb 15, 2012 at 4:41 AM

    Just watched the clubhouse confidential clip on Harper. That guy got me excited too. Can't wait until Bryce start ripping them up here.Did anyone see Cubs vs Nationals : Baseball IQ?That was like the easiest question ever! How could he not name Halladay, JV, etc?

  154. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 15, 2012 at 12:13 PM

    Kenz aFan……just remember that the profile of the typical Anon poster is "lonely, miserable and lacks self-esteem".That's one reason I stopped acknowleging them.(oddly enough, the captcha was "pitie")

  155. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    "Kenz noMathWhiz said Zim is not worth 10/160, so if he won't take 8/160 then don't sign him."If you are going to quote me, then QUOTE ME, but do NOT switch or put words in my mouth.I included two count em two quotes from you in my original comment where you said exactly what I paraphrased in the second comment. And BTW, lighten up Francis. It was a joke after all.

  156. natsfan1a - Feb 15, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    Ditto. As someone once said, it's not personal, it's business. ;-) (btw, I don't think that my comments are relevant either.)In other news, I like vanilla, slathered with hot fudge sauce. But I digress.Sec 3, My Sofa said… He's not a columnist, he's a beat writer. Nothing personal, but it's your opinions that lack relevance, not his. IMO. February 14, 2012 8:28 PM

  157. natsfan1a's mouthpiece - Feb 15, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    In saying "ditto," my client was seconding the comments of sec3 rather than commenting on the worthiness of his opinions.captcha = unhero. Seriously.

  158. UnDumbledore - Feb 15, 2012 at 4:11 PM

    Personally, I never had much use for unheroes.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB MN
x-WASHINGTON 87 64 -- 0
ATLANTA 76 76 11.5
MIAMI 74 77 13.0
NEW YORK 73 80 15.0
PHILADELPHIA 69 82 18.0
Through Wednesday's early games
x-Clinched division title

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
THU: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
FRI: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
MON: OFF
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

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