Feb 14, 2012, 12:00 PM EST
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 »
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2013 schedule (subject to change)...
TUE: 12:45 p.m., 4:30 p.m.
WED: 2:30 p.m.
THU: 4:30 p.m.
FRI: 12:45 p.m., 2:30 p.m.
SAT: 9:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com.
- Wilson, Blevins among Nationals trade targets
- Rizzo: Nats aren't trading Clippard, Storen, Span
- 6 weeks into MLB offseason and free agents are going fast
- Williams on Harper, Strasburg and more
- Nats GM Mike Rizzo on lefty reliever market (VIDEO)
- Nationals' asking price high on Storen, Clippard
- Phillies willing to trade Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee
- Nats expect McLouth to get significant playing time
- Nats believe Ramos can catch 125 games
- Nationals in no rush to acquire left-hander