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Zim on contract talks, no-trade clause

Feb 24, 2012, 3:08 PM EDT

US Presswire file photo
Ryan Zimmerman has given the Nats 24 more hours to strike a contract agreement.

VIERA, Fla. — Though optimistic about the progress that's been made over the course of the last year on a long-term contract with the Nationals, Ryan Zimmerman made it clear this morning there is still work to be done before his deadline to suspend negotiations arrives tomorrow.

"These things, they can go from pretty optimistic to pretty pessimistic real quick," he said inside the Nationals' clubhouse this morning. "They go both ways. You get something done, then you need to work on something else, and that thing becomes a road block. There's so many things that go on with these things. You can't really tell until it's finally done."

The Nationals and Zimmerman's agent, Brodie Van Wagenen, have been in talks for about a year and during that time have crossed many hurdles toward a long-term extension. Van Wagenen was in Viera yesterday and met with general manager Mike Rizzo, though he left town without a deal in place and with a few important details still unresolved.

One of the key points, according to sources familiar with the talks, is the inclusion of a full no-trade clause in the contract. Zimmerman will already attain no-trade rights at the end of the 2015 season becauseRead more ยป

  1. SonnyG10 - Feb 24, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    Give him no-trade clause already. He's going to get it automatically soon anyway.

  2. HHover - Feb 24, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    Four years is not really that "soon" over the life of a 7-8 year contract, esp if the Nats have a rising 3B-in-waiting in Rendon.I'm not saying the Nats shouldn't give it to him, but they'd reasonably expect something in return (presumably, a shorter contract period and/or lower AAV).

  3. Kirbs - Feb 24, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    Give it to him. His various injuries seem to have messed with his throwing. Seems a perfect time (2013) to make a move to 1B. Rendon would then have his spot. Btw, Michael Bourn for CF!!!!!!!

  4. Sunderland - Feb 24, 2012 at 3:32 PM

    Paraphrasing Zim, he's saying if he signs a team friendly contract, he expects to stay here, and not have the Nats take advantage of the team friendly contract and trade him.So he's inferring he's willing to sign a team friendly contract, something with a home town discount.Curious if that's really true.Maybe one day we'll know.

  5. JaneB - Feb 24, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    These guys are NUTS to not give it to him. He deserves it. If they thought the fans would have revolted over an Adam Dunn trade two years ago, they ain't seen nothing like the vitriol they'd get if they traded Zimm. And they'd deserve it. Heck, WE deserve it. If Adam Werth has it, it would be a slap in the face to Zimm AND to us not to do it. We want Zimm here to be part of the march to October ball. They should want more of his walk-offs, too. Okay. my blood pressure is way way up there. I need to back away from the computer now.

  6. JaneB - Feb 24, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    I mean Jayson Werth, of course. Still have Adam Dunn on my mind. D'oh!

  7. Feel Wood - Feb 24, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    Sounds like the no-trade clause is not a big deal. It was probably something that Zimmerman was just assuming all along, i.e. that there was no way they'd trade him, until Boswell quoted his bogus "source" (probably a real person who really said it, but so far out of the loop as to be laughable) that if they don't get a deal done NOW they'd be shopping him at the trade deadline this July. So he tells his agent "Hey, better get me a no-trade clause just in case." This is a new wrinkle to the deal they've been hammering out all these months, so now Rizzo has to run it by the Lerners. This is SOP, nothing sinister, but it does take time – especially since it doesn't seem that any of the Lerners are in Viera right now. They don't make decisions individually, they do it as a family. (Boswell's dreaded "board of directors.") Again, nothing wrong with this, but it does take time, meaning that all the little details won't be finalized before the media's artificially-imposed Saturday deadline. This will set off another round of Boswell panic columns, and then a few days or weeks later a deal will be announced. Boswell will once again take credit.How many times have we seen this same scenario play out before?

  8. MicheleS - Feb 24, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    JaneB..There will be a ton of us storming the center field gate if they don't get this done (me included). So you won't be alone with the high blood pressure.

  9. MicheleS - Feb 24, 2012 at 3:44 PM

    One other good thing is comment about the major things being hammered out and he will sign even if it is after Saturday..

  10. Mark'd - Feb 24, 2012 at 3:44 PM

    . "It kind of gives us a core group of guys in place for a long time…"Read that comment here this week.

  11. Anonymous - Feb 24, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    Can a no-trade be incentive based? Say, full no trade for 2012 season, and then a full no-trade for 2013, 2014, 2015 seasons if Zimm reaches 130 starts or 500 plate appearences in the preceding season (or whatever the appropriate benchmarks may be). Then his 10/5 no-trade kicks in after that. Nats essentially promise Zim that as long as he's healthy and in the lineup, he'll be here for the rest of his career. If he starts breaking down, they've proteced themselves.

  12. Water23 - Feb 24, 2012 at 4:01 PM

    Interesting that there is a claim that the Nats are concerned about a no-trade clause. Although a valid concern as roster flexibility is crucial to a successful team. I find it unlikely to be the main sticking point or even a real bump. As, aren't they just negotiating for one month (July'14) and part of one season (End of '14 – July '15)of No-Trade protection? My reasoning starts with-1)Zim has a deal for until end of 2013. His value on the trade market drops dramatically as he gets closer to FA due to the new CBA. No, compensation if a player is not on the roster for the entire season if he sign somewhere else as a FA.2)Rendon may (and that is a huge may) be able to play in the bigs next year but most likely sometime in 2014. Among many reasons, he may still be healing from his injury.So, if Zim signs the extension w/out a no-trade clause, it would be unlikely the Nats move him during '12-13 and as they just reupped him and there might not be a replacement. Which gives them two windows – July '14and End of '14 season and 1st half of the '15 season (As mentioned above, if he is on the roster at the end of '15 his 10-5 rights grant him no trade status).So, why would they want to move him during these windows if he signs an extension? He is either under-performing and/or they have a solid upgrade. If he is under-performing what team in their right mind would take on the new contract? So, the only realistic option for a trade would be he is performing well and the Nats have a solid option. Possible but that is a lot of IFs and they just signed him to a team friendly contract so the replacement would have to be substantially better. OTOH, if Zim does not sign an extension, they might move him but that would almost have to be next year. Which is right when the Nats are making the "Move" as part of the "Plan" so why cut off your nose to spite your face?I guess I am saying that any claims that the No-Trade clause is a serious impediment seems to be unlikely.

  13. Manassas Nats Fan - Feb 24, 2012 at 4:10 PM

    IF the big things are actually done, the little things should be easy to finish. Ryan says the big things are done.

  14. sjb - Feb 24, 2012 at 4:11 PM

    @Feel Wood–The media has a lot to answer for, but they didn't come up with the Saturday deadline in this case; Zim did. The reason was not to have distraction once spring training begins in earnest, but if Zim thinks at this point the issue will go away if he doesn't sign an extension, he's kidding himself. (One thing the team could do to help in that situation is announce that no midseason trade of Zim will be considered in any circumstances.)

  15. Steve M. - Feb 24, 2012 at 4:20 PM

    I have said Zim's contract extension was a Top Priority since last season so glad it finally became the last minute dash to the finish line and most of NatsTown thinks it is now a Top Priority. Not sure why it wasn't an off-season priority 6 months ago for these same fans that now think its "do or die".I only take one part of Ryan's statement as humorous "….sign a deal that's team-friendly….". Young Ryan, what you think is 'team-friendly' and the working stiffs here think is 'team-friendly' are probably 2 different things. You performed last year at HR/RBI numbers below a Rookie named Ramos and you still had more at-bats than him and he is supporting a small village on his $450,000. Anything below $16,000,000 a year to me is 'team-friendly' and anything above that is TOP DOLLAR based on your numbers. 2009 was 2009 and that was 3 full seasons ago.I'm on your side Ryan but don't throw out words like 'team-friendly' because rarely does a team ever make out in long-term deals (Source: ClubHouse Confidential)

  16. Tcostant - Feb 24, 2012 at 4:26 PM

    Just another sign how bad the Werth deal was, after bidding $20M over the next best offer the Nats added a no-trade clause to get the deal done. Do you really think Werth would have shund the Nats if they were the only team offering that 7 year but without a no trade. That move "opened the door" as Rizzo stated before and now they will have to deal with this issue over and over again.

  17. PAY TO PLAY - Feb 24, 2012 at 4:27 PM

    BTW, when Ryan signed that last contract extension they announced it into the beginning of the season and he admitted to lying (gazooks) about the ongoing negotiations. I'm sure you already that press conference.I hope in this case that it is announced promptly.

  18. Feel Wood - Feb 24, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    @Feel Wood–The media has a lot to answer for, but they didn't come up with the Saturday deadline in this case; Zim did. The reason was not to have distraction once spring training begins in earnest, but if Zim thinks at this point the issue will go away if he doesn't sign an extension, he's kidding himself.The issue won't go away, but he won't have to take questions about it any more. That's the point of the deadline. It's a polite way to tell Boswell et al to "STFU, no comment, not discussing it," not that there will no longer be discussions between Rizzo and his agent. Because there will.Just look back to when he signed his current deal in 2009. Same "deadline" drama, with no deal. Then, two weeks into the season, voila! a deal.

  19. HHover - Feb 24, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    Steve MYou're getting pretty selective with the statistics there–only comparing HR and RBI #s, and overlooking his 2010 season entirely, when he was by every measure other than HR and RBI an equal if not better player than in 2009.

  20. Steve M. - Feb 24, 2012 at 4:32 PM

    Pujols set up that same 'notice' about after Spring Training he wouldn't discuss any more and he was true to his word. The media kept discussing it. That's the difference.

  21. Tcostant - Feb 24, 2012 at 4:39 PM

    Zimm has stated the deadline for two reason.1 – So he stopped getting asked questions about it (again he can fix by not answering those questions).2 – And so his teammates stop getting the "what do you think of the front office not signing Zimmerman to an extention yet" type questions. [He can only stop those by stop talking contract with the team]Check mate.

  22. Steve M. - Feb 24, 2012 at 4:39 PM

    Mark'd said… . "It kind of gives us a core group of guys in place for a long time…"Read that comment here this week. February 24, 2012 10:44 AMThis is what I wrote yesterday and have said it before: "…. it sets up the remaining core piece for that crucial 4 more year run 2012-2015….February 23, 2012 11:10 AM"I'm glad Zim acknowledged that and the only player after Zim is Michael Morse that is a core player and set to be a FA after 2 years. I still don't get how Rizzo let the opportunity fly by on Morse when they bought out Morse's 2 years. The Yankees and Phillies have kept their core together for a baseball eternity. A contract extension for Morse than looking at JZim after that who is under team control through 2015.

  23. jd - Feb 24, 2012 at 4:44 PM

    HHover, Exactly right; 2009 and 2010 WAR over 7 and in the top 5 in Baseball. As far as I,m concerned he should get whatever he can and the team should get the best contract done from their perspective; that's what negotiations are all about. To say just give it to him is childish.

  24. Steve M. - Feb 24, 2012 at 4:45 PM

    HHover, 2009 was his all-round best year. Gold Glove and Silver Slugger. His 2010 was also very good offensively. 2011 was pretty bad as was 2008 and 2007 was OK and 2006 was a great year as a Rookie.I believe Zim will have a very good 2012. He looks great and also changed up his training regimen. When you look at why Prince Fielder got his cash it was about consistency. The past is the best indicator of the future and Zim's timeline should be for 2 good years coming up.

  25. jd - Feb 24, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    JaneB, I understand your sentiment but this is professional baseball not high school so whether you like it or not it's business and it's about leverage on both sides; nothing else. Pujols didn't show the Cardinals any loyalty and vice versa. The Derek Jeters of this business are few and far between and even he held up the Yankees for as much as he could get and well above market value. The term home town discount is an illusion.

  26. Steve M. - Feb 24, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    jd said… To say just give it to him is childish. February 24, 2012 11:44 AM Its funny with the stupid statements "Just pay the man".Some believe the paying fans are the ones that pay him. I like to think that is the case but we all know the reality, its a negotiation.

  27. Feel Wood - Feb 24, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    Pujols set up that same 'notice' about after Spring Training he wouldn't discuss any more and he was true to his word. The media kept discussing it. That's the difference. No, the difference was that Pujols was one year away from reaching free agency whereas Zimmerman is still two years away. When Pujols was forced to close the negotiation window due to the press, it was the last window. When this totally-artificial, media-created negotiation window for Zimmerman closes, there is still another window available next offseason. If not for the overzealous Washington press, this current window and its assocaited deadline would never have needed to exist. Extension negotiations could be ongoing through this season (as they will still be, don't kid yourself if you think not) and indeed probably they would end sooner if not for the constant hounding by the press.And if you think this two-years-ahead deadline is a natural or normal thing, where was Yadier Molina's deadline in St. Louis last year? Where was Pujols's deadline two years ago? They did not exist, because the press did not create them.

  28. Theophilus - Feb 24, 2012 at 4:58 PM

    Sunderland has it right. After reading Kilgore this a.m., indicating Z'man will sign for significantly less than I would have expected, I agree that he wants his discount to be valuable to him in some intangible way.Interesting to me how this says, implicitly, how many places there are where players don't want to be traded. Not just small market teams (that couldn't afford $17MM let alone $20MM) but toxic franchises (Baltimore), freak ballparks (SF), high tax states (IL, WA), and so forth. If it was just a couple of teams that could be dealt with easily. But these guys seriously want the whole magilla.

  29. SCNatsFan - Feb 24, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    jd, I don't agree with the hometown discount being an illusion but it happens less and less. You have certain players who plan in staying in the area, have kids in schools and are involved in charitable organizations who, for a price, will stay. I don't think its an issue of loyalty, I think its a lifestyle choice.

  30. jd - Feb 24, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    Rendon at this stage is just a potential asset. He could end up playing for the Nats at 3rd or elsewhere and he could end up playing for someone else. For starters he needs to prove that he is healthy and productive once he does that the possibilities are open. Texas converted Justin Smoak into Cliff Lee and a world series run. The Yankees converted Jesus Montero into Michael Pineda and a potential world series run. This type of situation re the Nats and Rendon is not a bad outcome. Right?

  31. Anonymous - Feb 24, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    Ryan Zimmerman is very good about pushing his own agenda and rolling out his own PR machine. He sings the "We, we, we" chorus when he is trying to look politically correct which is what his team friendly comments are all about. It pushed the PR machine and pressure onto management.For all we know he is asking for the use of 10 nights at the stadium each year and other concessions. Last year, Zimmerman, Werth and LaRoche were grossly overpaid. That's the business side. In 2009 and 2010 Zimmerman was grossly underpaid.People that take these negotiations this personally need to get a life.

  32. Anonymoose - Feb 24, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    I do not agree at all with Sunderland as the perception of team friendly is a spin tactic and the Nats have no PR machine to defend their position. They will let Zimmerman say it and let that be the record. That is how the Nationals do it. The Nats negotiations stay behind closed doors and it is commendable. They won't come out and say we decided to give Ryan a player friendly deal and give in on every point.I take this all back if Ryan signs at his 2013 contract price of $14,000,000 a year.

  33. natsfan1a - Feb 24, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    Eh, we're fans, we're supposed to take things personally. ;-) That said, it is possible to disagree on the merits of a particular argument without characterizing it as "childish," or "stupid." In other news and if memory serves, one week from today the first ST game is due to be broadcast on the radio. Woohoo! I. Can. Not. Wait. (Wait, was that too personal? :-))

  34. #4 - Feb 24, 2012 at 5:06 PM

    This needs to get done. He deserves a no-trade clause and here's why. It's clear from his comments that the years and money have been settled and settled in a way that's team friendly. He's said things like "either way I'll have more money than I can ever spend" for instance. Being comfortable, close to home, and stable is the priority for Zim. He's not keeping score with his salary.The reason he deserves the no-trade clause is that by signing a home team discount, long-term contract, he becomes an extremely desirable trade chip for another team, one that say the Angels would be willing to give the Nats a lot for. They'd be getting an all-star at below market value. The chances of trading him therefore are MORE likely, if signs this contract. It's why he deserves the protection and piece of mind.#4

  35. Jaxpo Nat - Feb 24, 2012 at 5:07 PM

    Anyone know what time workouts are tomorrow?

  36. Theophilus - Feb 24, 2012 at 5:09 PM

    jd, when Rendon was drafted and everyone wondered what was his best position, I suggested "Justin Smoak." Assuming he does well in the minors, he's a fabulous asset in either Nats Park or somebody else's.

  37. natsfan1a - Feb 24, 2012 at 5:16 PM

    Also on a broadcast note, MLB Network released its ST games schedule today.

  38. Anonymoose - Feb 24, 2012 at 5:17 PM

    #4, you are making assumptions. Nobody knows how much he is asking for.

  39. NatsLady - Feb 24, 2012 at 5:18 PM

    I know I'm being greedy/over-eager, but will the Georgetown game be on any live video or audio?

  40. A DC Wonk - Feb 24, 2012 at 5:21 PM

    I don't think it's a "hometown discount"I only take one part of Ryan's statement as humorous "….sign a deal that's team-friendly….". Young Ryan, what you think is 'team-friendly' and the working stiffs here think is 'team-friendly' are probably 2 different things. I think the situation is this:There is no way RZ will be paid as much as he would be paid if he waited until next year, had a good season, and hit the free agent market. Some team would go nuts and overpay (e.g., Nats-Werth, or Tigers-Fielder, etc.) His "worth" is less now.So, what RZ doesn't want is this: he signs below his worth (or below what he could have gotten elsewhere had he waited), which then makes him a valuable trading piece, and then the Nats trade him.So, I can see RZ's point, and I think it's quite reasonable that he thinks: if I'm getting paid less, then I want to start my no-trade rights earlier.

  41. FS - Feb 24, 2012 at 5:22 PM

    Anon 12:17, everyone is making assumptions at this point. If Zimm says "we", some of us believe him and some of us doubt him. If Zimm says "team-friendly contract", some of us mock him and some of us appreciate him. I like to believe the good side of him unless proven otherwise. I believe him when he says team-friendly and he has given me no reason not to.

  42. A DC Wonk - Feb 24, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    I realize that I just said the same thing as #4.#4, you are making assumptions. Nobody knows how much he is asking for.You're right. But I don't think it's unreasonable to assume that RZ would be signing for less after a less-than-stellar season, as compared to if he had a more normal RZ season, and then hit free agency.

  43. JaneB - Feb 24, 2012 at 5:31 PM

    JD, I know it's professional ball, not high school. Sheesh. I still think they cannot trade this particular guy. Albert took the money but what he wanted was, what in effect is really a 20 year deal. HIS OWN TEAM undervalued his impact to the fans and his teammates, and — had they been listening to his desire for a legacy beyond his playing years — Albert would still be there. What I'm saying is that The Lerners should see what happened there and honor Zimm and the fans and make a solid, no-trade deal. If no-trade is one of the intangibles beyond money, give it to him and us. Business. Good business, in my view.

  44. #4 - Feb 24, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    Not making assumptions, reading obvious signs by what people are saying.The more I mull this over, the more agitated I get. This is really a fork in the road for this franchise. Will they treat players with respect and therefore become an organization that the right type of players want to play for? We will have the answer soon.

  45. Steve M. - Feb 24, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    #4, obvious signs? The billboard in Anaheim says "El Hombre". What signs are you talking about here?Tell us, what is the amount Zimmerman is looking for. That's what matters. A dime over $16 million is not a team friendly deal. I think he is talking about allowing the team to backload dollars. That is almost commonplace these days in long-term $100 million + deals.

  46. #4 - Feb 24, 2012 at 5:47 PM

    My guess is that given Zim's comments, the AAV will be south of $16 million. I agree that an AAV in the $17-$20 would not be team-friendly. I also believe that they years and money wold not have been agreed on, given his recent history, if he had demanded that AAV. The team would have made him put up a 150 game, productive season before doing that.

  47. Steve M. - Feb 24, 2012 at 5:53 PM

    #4, good we are in agreement. I use my baseline as Adrian Beltre for $16 million.Adrian Beltre in his year before Free Agency slashed .321/.365/.553/.919 28HR-102RBI and signed a 5 year deal worth $16 million a year.Beltre was a Free Agent and the best deal he got was that deal from Texas.Beltre's agent is Scott Boras. Keep in mind Beltre signed that 1 year deal in 2010 for $9 million.I don't even know if you can say 'team-friendly' is $15.9 million a year for Zimmerman if Beltre is the new standard. Its not apples to apples but a decent indicator given the age when Zim's deal would end. Beltre's deal also has a 6th year $16 million vesting option.

  48. Anonymous - Feb 24, 2012 at 5:53 PM

    Steve M. said….I think he is talking about allowing the team to backload dollars. That is almost commonplace these days in long-term $100 million + deals.I was wondering if someone could tell me why teams do this? I would think if a team has the payroll flexibility they would frontload a deal versus backloading it. Most of these deals are long term and the player will generally fall off production wise as the contract plays out. The more money you pay out early, the more flexible you are at the end to either move the player or sign other players and not have payroll issues.

  49. Anonymous - Feb 24, 2012 at 5:55 PM

    Consistently, the best or top 3 offensive player the Nats have … even in injury years which may in some respects explain why Fangraphs picks Zimmerman as a top FOF. LOOKING at the team offense using park and defense neutral stats … it paints a pathetic picture. The Nats need Zimmerman and Rendon in that lineup. Along with Morse and Harper and I suspect that might only get them to the break even point which is better that super sub-par as they have been up until now. With Lombardozzi and Rendon in that clubhouse many will be watching both Desmond and Espinosa closely. The heats on those two right now with catcher now covered and Werth the default CF for now until at least July 31st. THEY NEED OFFENSE.

  50. #4 - Feb 24, 2012 at 6:08 PM

    Which of these players would you rather have? These are their stats in their last full years at AAA. Player A: .330/.401/.477Player B: .309/.360/.430A hint, player A is Desmond. Player B is Lombardozzi.I just don't understand why anyone would think that Lombardozzi will outplay Desmond.

  51. Steve M. - Feb 24, 2012 at 6:23 PM

    Anon @12:53PM, cashflow and present value of money.

  52. Feel Wood - Feb 24, 2012 at 6:25 PM

    "I was wondering if someone could tell me why teams do this? I would think if a team has the payroll flexibility they would frontload a deal versus backloading it."You need to learn about the time value of money. A dollar today is worth less than a dollar one year, five years, ten years from today. Backloading a contract is basically giving the player a cost of living increase over the course of the deal. Frontloading it is giving him a pay cut even more severe than what shows on the contract. That's why teams and players don't do it.

  53. sm13 - Feb 24, 2012 at 6:29 PM

    Pay the man! Give him the no-trade. Just sign him!

  54. Anonymous - Feb 24, 2012 at 6:30 PM

    I just don't understand why anyone would think that Lombardozzi will outplay Desmond.Let's start with 139 strike outs up from 109 the previous year. Desmond believes he can hit for power. Lombardozzi doesn't even attempt to try he is the classic #1/#2 hitter. That's what he's been trained to do. JMax posted those kind of stats in AAA. Do you think he is better than Player A and Player B?Lombardozzi's 2011 AAA 323 PA, 0.329 wOBA, -0.9 bRAA compared to Marerro who went 541 PA, 0.374 wOBA, 19.6 bRAA which was the best on the team.In 2009 Ian Desmond only had 205 PA, 0.409 wOBA, 13.6 bRAA much smaller sample size … smaller than Marerro and Lombardozzi.205 PA would be equivalent to Desmond's September.Looking at AA in 2011 Lombardozzi had 287 PA, 0.374 wOBA, 9.9 bRAAwhile Desmond? In 2009 189 PA, 0.385 wOBA, 8.6 bRAA. Decidedly worse than Lombardozzi in AA. So, yes, there is reason to believe Lombardozzi might be a better lead-off hitter than Desmond.

  55. PAY TO PLAY - Feb 24, 2012 at 6:32 PM

    With the low interest rates, the FV vs. PV isn't as significant.Beltre got a 5 year $80 million from Texas and they paid him $14, $15, $16, $17, $18.The Orioles sometimes defer money beyond the players contractual time with the team which is a more aggressive tactic.

  56. blovy8 - Feb 24, 2012 at 7:22 PM

    I'm not really trying to bash Desmond, but it took four years for him to get past A ball. 2009 is really the only year he's hit enough to get excited about, and despite being given plenty of experience over seven and a half years of professional ball, he still is not a good defensive shortstop. This is pretty much it for him, maybe DJ helps him, but I think the improvement will probably end up being in power, he can hit 15 homers and be a bit below average defensively, and that's ok, but he's really misplace batting first. That's not his fault, and you can win with guys like him, C- sort of regulars, but maybe he should be the utility guy.With Lombardozzi, you have a 2B recognized for his excellent fielding, who's put up solid avg/obp numbers and progressed a step every year and kept his numbers pretty constant. While it wouldn't hurt him to go to AAA and try to learn other positions, the guy has demonstrated a lot more leadoff skills than Desmond has, and I don't think it would be a stretch to imagine him going 280/340/380 with 20 SB if he got regular playing time which would be an ideal leadoff guy for this club regardless of where you have to play him.

  57. blovy8 - Feb 24, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    They're never going to get a better deal on Zimmerman than right now. The idea that the market value on him is what Beltre got may not be true in two years, if he puts up two healthy years, he may be the best free agent available. You don't hold up on this depending on what Rendon might do. He's probably been worth the rumored asking price per year over the course of his career so far, even missing as much time as he has for injuries, so if they're smart it's just about bargaining and not about lowballing and screwing around with a good thing.

  58. LOVEDEMNATS - Feb 24, 2012 at 7:49 PM

    Zimmerman has been the the one steady force since the Nats started here in 2005. He stuck it out, never complained, and is a credit to the franchise. He deserves to have this!!

  59. FS - Feb 24, 2012 at 7:54 PM

    Beltre was not as young as RZ when he signed his deal. Four years older I think?This was probably his last big payday. RZ's next deal is also gonna be last big payday, but he has more factors working for him; fan favorite, younger, more prime years left in him among others. That does not mean I will pay him more than Beltre got because that won't be team-friendly. I am just going to wait until the deal is announced.

  60. FS - Feb 24, 2012 at 7:55 PM

    You also have to agree with what he said, he has been with Nats through bad times and now he wants to be there holding up that trophy soon.

  61. Anonymous - Feb 24, 2012 at 8:49 PM

    The only way Zim should get full no trade is if the Nats get a serious deal on his contract. Why take the risk of paying the guy more money now in terms of the extension (taking on the risk of injury for a guy who has been less than reliable) and also give away trade flexibility unless he's giving something very significant back in return? Also, why is he even talking nuts and bolts of the deal to reporters anyway? Ryan, stop talking to the media about your possible exctension, it's becoming a distraction.

  62. natsfan1a - Feb 24, 2012 at 8:51 PM

    Now, that's funny. :-)Ryan, stop talking to the media about your possible exctension, it's becoming a distraction.

  63. sjm308 - Feb 24, 2012 at 8:59 PM

    Do we have any idea how many years both sides are talking about?

  64. Anonymous - Feb 25, 2012 at 1:23 AM

    To JaneBIt's a business,not a doggy park.Nats: Make the deal – move Zim

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W L GB
WASHINGTON 57 46 --
ATLANTA 58 48 0.5
MIAMI 52 53 6.0
NEW YORK 51 55 7.5
PHILADELPHIA 46 60 12.5
Through Monday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
TUE: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Marlins, 12:40 p.m.
THU: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Orioles 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.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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