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Locking more guys up long-term

Jan 22, 2013, 6:12 PM EDT

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Jordan Zimmermann is under the Nationals' control through 2015.

The Nationals have shown a willingness in the past to lock up core players well before they're eligible for free agency. Ryan Zimmerman had all of his arbitration years and two free agency years bought out way back in 2009. Gio Gonzalez, likewise, had all of his arbitration years and two free agency years bought out last winter upon his acquisition.

So, who's next on the list? The two obvious candidates are Jordan Zimmermann and Ian Desmond.

Both players are home-grown and have firmly established themselves as key pieces to the Nationals' long-term puzzle. Both are eligible for arbitration for the next three seasons before they can become free agents at the end of 2015. And general manager Mike Rizzo has broached the subject of a long-term extension with both players over the last 12 months, though no significant progress has yet been made.

Obviously, there are compelling reasons for the Nationals to lock both guys up. With Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez alreadyRead more »

  1. SCNatsFan - Jan 22, 2013 at 6:27 PM

    It amazes me that a guy can blow his pitching elbow out and still command a long term, big dollar contract. Perhaps we should be paying the doctors 10M a year not the players.

  2. SonnyG10 - Jan 22, 2013 at 6:32 PM

    So the Nats enter another phase of development. Having so many good players, its hard to keep them all. Better stoke the pipeline…may soon need another shortstop.

  3. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 22, 2013 at 6:39 PM

    Mark wrote…They're already on the hook for $72 million in 2014 to only six players: Jayson Werth, Ryan Zimmerman, Adam LaRoche, Rafael Soriano, Gio Gonzalez and Denard Span.That is a big number for the commitments but I think you take each player on his own merits as they get closer to Free Agency and you don't know if Strasburg or Harper will want to be in DC in 10 years so you have to take the players almost in chronological order.Get JZim and Desi done if you can sooner than later. At some point you have to hope for that MASN windfall will get resolved and revenues can cure all the issues with salaries.

  4. Tcostant - Jan 22, 2013 at 6:42 PM

    Offer both a 5 year / $55M extention; but onlt the first one gets it. The other needs to wait until the following year. Leverage can be a great asset.

  5. SCNatsFan - Jan 22, 2013 at 6:44 PM

    I posted before it all comes down to if they want to stay here for another 4 or 5 years; if they do then the offer will be fair, if they don't then it won't matter how much you offer, they will test the waters.

  6. Section 3, my sofa - Jan 22, 2013 at 6:48 PM

    Offer both a 5 year / $55M extention; but onlt the first one gets it. The other needs to wait until the following year. Leverage can be a great asset.That would be a great way to get both of them telling you "I got one here for you, but it's not the first one, it's the middle one."

  7. alexva - Jan 22, 2013 at 6:48 PM

    both players are here for the next three years. if things turn out like I think they will there will be plenty of money and incentive for them to stay.

  8. MicheleS - Jan 22, 2013 at 6:50 PM

    IT'S ANGELOS!Eric Fisher‏@EricFisherSBJTo review future MLB ASG sites: 2013 – Citi Field. 2014 – Target Field. 2015 – GABP. 2016 – AL site with BAL perhaps early clubhouse leader

  9. NatsLady - Jan 22, 2013 at 6:52 PM

    Desi might take an extension, JZ–doubtful.

  10. Section 3, my sofa - Jan 22, 2013 at 6:55 PM

    Assuming Mark's numbers are approximately correct, signing an extension like he suggests Rizzo might offer, for 5/$50M, when he can probably get 5/$75M as a free agent if he stays healthy, would be the equivalent of Znn telling Rizzo, "I'll bet you 25 million dollars that I get hurt."

  11. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 22, 2013 at 6:55 PM

    The good news is the Nats only have 1 long-term contract that is well over market value and that's Jayson Werth at $21.6 million a year in his 3 final years of his contract before he becomes a FA in 2018.RZim's $14 million a year is more manageable as is Gio's $12 million a year.Bryce Harper is Arbitration eligible and under team control through 2018 which is the same year Rizzo gets out from under Werth's contract.It will be a Strasburg extension which will push the payroll in 2017.I think Rizzo can do it if he can defer the big hits to 2018 and 2019 and beyond and continue to bring in farm system stars at league minimum.The Core 6 to me is RZim, Gio, JZim, Desi, Stras and Harper.RZim and Gio are tied up long-term.

  12. peric - Jan 22, 2013 at 6:57 PM

    The thing is Zimmermann is Rizzo's #1 starter. If there is any player Rizzo prizes above the others its the guy he had to fight to draft. And Zimmermann has to know that. Maybe Gio and Stras were #1 and #2 last season but this season it may end up where Zimmermann comes into his own and maybe moves up into those slots. He has the talent. At some point the Nats could end up with 5 starters capable of being the #1 guy in any other rotation. And I always assumed that was Rizzo's strategy. Its an expensive strategy but ownership must have bought into it because they've helped him with it all along the way.

  13. Section 3, my sofa - Jan 22, 2013 at 7:00 PM

    My guess now is, Rizzo will be a lot more committed to keeping Harper if he can, than Strasburg, assuming both players pan out like we think they will.

  14. NatsLady - Jan 22, 2013 at 7:06 PM

    Sofa, I agree. Stras will go back to California. There is a chance–a chance!–that Harper will stay. Too far in the future for any guarantees.

  15. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 22, 2013 at 7:09 PM

    I just penciled up 2014 and the payroll will be $130 to $140 million. That will also be Strasburg's 1st arbitration eligible year and he will cash-in.Even though the 6 commitments for next year total $78 million, the increase is manageable and won't break the bank.I think the Nats are in good shape for 2015 also. Its 2016 and 2017 that will be the big years and hopefully by then the team will have revenues that give them a nice cushion to still turn a profit even if payroll hits $175 million.

  16. peric - Jan 22, 2013 at 7:10 PM

    For those who are interested John Sickels updated his Nationals top 20 prospects list to incorporate the recent trade. It definitely had a big effect.Sickles updated top 20

  17. Rabbit34 - Jan 22, 2013 at 7:13 PM

    No matter what happens with these guys, no matter where they go, the beer is still cold at the ballpark!

  18. peric - Jan 22, 2013 at 7:13 PM

    My guess now is, Rizzo will be a lot more committed to keeping Harper if he can, than Strasburg, assuming both players pan out like we think they will.I think ownership will try their best to keep him. One must keep in mind the recent (and past ~cough, ~cough~ Jayson Werth) favors ownership has done for Mr. Boras. If you think about it Sofa this might just be in the back of Ted Lerner's mind. Being a good friend and team owner for Boras might be a good thing. Never underestimate Ted. He's very quiet and unassuming but carries a huge wallet.

  19. greg - Jan 22, 2013 at 7:36 PM

    don't for a second, though, think boras will give the lerners or rizzo a break on any contract. he'll give them every chance to match, but if the money is bigger elsewhere, only the player can step in and override boras. and i suspect the player would have a big fight on their hands, too.

  20. NCNatsie - Jan 22, 2013 at 7:36 PM

    Peric said: Never underestimate Ted. He's very quiet and unassuming but carries a huge wallet. Yes, but can we sign him to an extension? I'm concerned his WAR may be higher than any potential replacement.

  21. Section 222 - Jan 22, 2013 at 7:39 PM

    Adam Kilgore ‏@AdamKilgoreWPBlue Jays announce they signed Mark DeRosa to a one-year deal worth $750K. More beloved by teammates than any player I've covered.And yet he didn't want to just be a coach here. Amazing.

  22. NatsLady - Jan 22, 2013 at 7:45 PM

    222, on DeRosa not wanting to be a coach here: that's fine with me. I'm waiting for Werth–though he may not do it. Did you read the story about Methany? He only returned to baseball because he flunked real-estate.

  23. Tony - Jan 22, 2013 at 8:13 PM

    No player wants to be a coach if he still thinks he can play ball. Obviously the Jays think DeRosa can still play.

  24. Tony - Jan 22, 2013 at 8:15 PM

    The Lerners are the richest owners in baseball and indeed some of the richest people in the world. If all it takes to lock up Desmond and Zimmermann long term is money, they will pay it.

  25. JD - Jan 22, 2013 at 8:17 PM

    Sec222, The attraction of a 5 year deal to a player who is still 3 years away from free agency is that the $50 mil or so will set him up for life as well as his kids and grand kids. Playing it one year at a time for someone who has yet to make the big bucks does carry some risks. What if you get hurt? what if you have an off year? what if you are really not quite as good as everyone thought? Many players have given away some arb and FA years for the security of a long term deal; it's not a crazy idea. Now in JZimm's case I am not so sure that the team is ready to commit to a long term deal; I think they may want to see JZimm repeat his performance from last year and improve on it. That's not a crazy idea either.

  26. Section 222 - Jan 22, 2013 at 8:24 PM

    NL, don't hold your breath for Werth either. After collecting his $126 million from the Lerners, he's unlikely to want the grind of the baseball season and the time away from his family for peanuts. I doubt he'll go into real estate either.

  27. Section 222 - Jan 22, 2013 at 8:26 PM

    JD — Not sure why your comment was addressed to me… My position on JZnn is pretty clear. I'd love to see him locked up for more than 3 years, but I doubt he'll agree to it. And I can understand why.

  28. JD - Jan 22, 2013 at 8:27 PM

    Ghost, It's hard to predict what will happen in the future. To the best of my understanding the only significant salary which is coming off the books after this year is Haren but his salary will need to be replaced by someone such as Haren and for similar dollars. Without any other additions I can easily see the payroll go to $130 – $140 mil just through normal raises etc. and without adding any additional pieces. This is why I was surprised by the commitment to Soriano for 2 years. In 2 years we can drop Soriano, LaRoche and Span but as you say by then we will have to pay the big bucks for Stras and players such as Ramos, Detwiler and Espinosa may start commanding big salaries.

  29. baseballswami - Jan 22, 2013 at 8:29 PM

    DeRosa will fill the same role in Toronto that he did here. Bench, utility, mentor. The only thing is that it's the AL and so he will remain safely ensconced on the bench helping the egos stay under control. Not much pinch hitting going on in the AL. Can't see him as a DH. They are going to need a referee on the bench with the collection of guys they have put together and called a team.

  30. JD - Jan 22, 2013 at 8:29 PM

    Sec222, I guess my counter point to you is that I am not so sure the Nats are ready to commit to JZimm long term big bucks just yet.

  31. SCNatsFan - Jan 22, 2013 at 8:30 PM

    sec222, I believe life post baseball – like coaching – has little to do with money and more to do with a player having, in some cases, no other skills for guys who made Werth kind of money. Its all they know. Asking a guy to sit around, be Mr Mom and play golf 3 times a week may sound great but it would be difficult for a driven athlete to turn off the desire to compete, the thrill of a crowded stadium.

  32. Section 222 - Jan 22, 2013 at 8:56 PM

    SCN, good points. But can you think of a single MLB manager who earned over $100 million in his playing career, and came back after retirement to coach or manage? Davey makes big bucks as a manager, and his salary is what? $10 million? According to BaseballReference, Methany made $20 million in his playing career, Mattingly made a little under $30 million. DeRosa made about that much, and he probably has a MLB Network job awaiting him if he wants it. Werth is in different league. If he doesn't like playing Mr. Mom and hitting the links, I imagine he can find something to do that doesn't involve traveling for 7-8 months a year.

  33. Section 222 - Jan 22, 2013 at 8:59 PM

    JD — Mark's report indicates that Rizzo has talked with JZnn (or his agent) about a long term deal. I think the Nats would commit serious money to him, if by serious you mean the kind of deal that Gio got. But the kind of money JZnn will command after 2015? You're right, that's doubtful. So the choice is his. I'll be surprised if he goes for it, but goodness knows I've been wrong plenty of times.

  34. JayB - Jan 22, 2013 at 9:12 PM

    The good news just keep rolling in…..NO DeRosa….that was my last fear and whine. I am good to go now!

  35. Scooter - Jan 22, 2013 at 9:18 PM

    It seems to be creeping back in, so I'll say something.The gent who manages the Cards is named Matheny. First the A, then the E. He is not, to my knowledge, a gas giant; nor does he suffer from poor digestion.

  36. baseballswami - Jan 22, 2013 at 9:24 PM

    JayB- I thought the same thing! I was so afraid they would bring him back because he is a good guy. Didn't work with Ankiel. Bench is crowded now.

  37. Water23 - Jan 22, 2013 at 9:26 PM

    NatsLady,AI did read the article on Metheny and maybe DeRosa would follow the same path but Werth is not a good comparison. As JD pointed out, Werth will make more in one year & every year for the next 5 yrs that Methany or DeRosa made in their entire career. So, he might move to coaching but only for fun not out of necessity. Maybe, the Nats get lucky and he pulls a "Gil Meche" with a year or two left on the deal!!!!And why would JZimm a promising young pitcher take a long term deal? – see Brandon Webb – A stud Cy Young winner, who got injured and lost millions. He is looking for work and may never be the same.A $50 Million contract has to look pretty good when you are going to Arb the next two years with a second TJ surgery/Shoulder issues. But as we all have notice the ice in JZimm's veins that makes him such a dominating pitcher seems to be there in all he does. I just hope he gets paid and is happy. The Braves were able to keep there trio in the 90's and I would love to have the Nats do the same now.

  38. Section 222 - Jan 22, 2013 at 9:27 PM

    Right you are Scooter. Not related to the great jazz guitarist either, I guess. And I even looked up his salary. Duh!

  39. Scooter - Jan 22, 2013 at 9:33 PM

    To be fair, 222, I should point out that he may have poor digestion, for all I know. I expressed undue certainty and regret the error.

  40. Tcostant - Jan 22, 2013 at 9:55 PM

    Mark McGwire is only a coach, but he cleared almost $75M in his career.http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/m/mcgwima01.shtml

  41. JamesFan - Jan 22, 2013 at 9:55 PM

    You're 25, you've had TJ surgery and someone says I'll give you $40-50 Million guaranteed money or you can take it one year at a time and hope for the best. What would you do?Right. TTM–Take the Money. Signing JZ should not be hard if they make the offer.

  42. baseballswami - Jan 22, 2013 at 10:03 PM

    I know this- I want to watch Jordan pitch for the Nats for a long time. Can't tell you how many times I have watched the video of his relief inning. Pumps me right up. He may turn out to be better than Stras or Gio- not as high strung.

  43. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 22, 2013 at 10:35 PM

    The Dodgers TV deal getting even larger. $7 to $8 billion.Yah that's billion with 9 zeros.Do the math, if the Nats get a fair deal from MASN they can afford to do some large extensions. I'm not talking LA money, I'm talking DC money.

  44. JD - Jan 22, 2013 at 10:37 PM

    JamesFan, That's exactly what I think too. Sawmi, You may be right in regards to JZ vs. Gio although to be fair Gio is way ahead of JZimm so far. I see no way either of these guys will come close to Stras when all is said and done.I don't think you quite grasp the enormity of Stras's skill set and potential. We are talking Vy Young contention every year (IMO).

  45. JD - Jan 22, 2013 at 10:37 PM

    Or maybe Cy Young !

  46. realdealnats - Jan 22, 2013 at 10:40 PM

    Desi has always proven conciliatory and gracious. I say he stays for a home team salary. I love JZimm but he has a heckuva quiet edge to him. He just might roll the dice on a big FA payday. But I hope we can sign him to keep the big three together. JZimm I believe will always seem like a #3 here not b/c of his ability but b/c of his low key personality. And after #1, what is the true value of numbers with the Nats if you are really alternating RH/LH/RH/LH/Rh? In other words, I don't think JZimm would move for the reputation–he'd move for the money–if he moves at all.

  47. realdealnats - Jan 22, 2013 at 10:46 PM

    Possibly the most important people we want to tie up are Rizzo (no problem here), Kline, and Harris. And the entire scouting department and coaching echelon who will be scouting and training the next wave of Nats we'll need to follow this wave that is WS worthy. With Rendon and Goodwin and Cole coming down the pike, we'll need, more than ever, to find the diamonds in the rough to replace these guys–much as this crew has been doing so far. In Rizzo We Trust!

  48. baseballswami - Jan 22, 2013 at 10:53 PM

    JD- I absolutely grasp the enormity if Stras' talent. I just think he is high strung. He hits an umpire and immediately gives up a home run, it's raining, the mound isn't right– Gio has some of that stuff going on also. Stras has gotten better, but both he and Gio have that fragile nature where something goes wrong and they can 't pull it back together. I hope they both mature into pitching Zen.

  49. realdealnats - Jan 22, 2013 at 10:54 PM

    Re: Strass and Harp–I honestly think we have a shot at a couple WS wins in the next 3 years. If so, or if not, I feel like Henry V's St. Crispian's Day Speech: If they don't want to stay together with this great group of guys and this great organization then so be it. Put some crowns for convoy in their purses and send them on their way. I do think they will stay though. That is part of their character that I truly believe is there that I like about them. Both, in my estimation, run deep and are not very mercenary.

  50. JD - Jan 22, 2013 at 11:05 PM

    Swami, What you say is absolutely true. I think Gio came here with a bit of a reputation of someone who falls apart when things start going south and we did see some of that in the playoffs. He did pitch wonderfully throughout the year though so I still hope he can get over this particular hump. I also agree with you on Stras although this was his 1st full professional year so there is every chance that he learns how to deal with adversity better. His arsenal is so devastating that you have to love his chances to become a consistently dominant ace.

  51. Candide - Jan 22, 2013 at 11:11 PM

    By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;It yearns me not if men my garments wear;Such outward things dwell not in my desires.But if it be a sin to covet honour,I am the most offending soul alive.No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.God's peace! I would not lose so great an honourAs one man more methinks would share from meFor the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,That he which hath no stomach to this fight,Let him depart; his passport shall be made,And crowns for convoy put into his purse;We would not die in that man's companyThat fears his fellowship to die with us.This day is call'd the feast of Crispian.He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd,And rouse him at the name of Crispian.He that shall live this day, and see old age,Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian.'Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,And say 'These wounds I had on Crispian's day.'Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,But he'll remember, with advantages,What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,Familiar in his mouth as household words-Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb'red.This story shall the good man teach his son;And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,From this day to the ending of the world,But we in it shall be remembered-We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;For he to-day that sheds his blood with meShall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,This day shall gentle his condition; And gentlemen in England now-a-bedShall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaksThat fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.Of course, Henry didn't have Scott Boras whispering in his ear…

  52. SonnyG10 - Jan 23, 2013 at 12:16 AM

    realdealnats said…Possibly the most important people we want to tie up are Rizzo (no problem here), Kline, and Harris. And the entire scouting department and coaching echelon who will be scouting and training the next wave of Nats we'll need to follow this wave that is WS worthy. With Rendon and Goodwin and Cole coming down the pike, we'll need, more than ever, to find the diamonds in the rough to replace these guys–much as this crew has been doing so far. In Rizzo We Trust!January 22, 2013 5:46 PMI agree 100%. Well said!

  53. Gonat - Jan 23, 2013 at 1:03 AM

    The Dodgers just signed Sandy Koufax. I'm not kidding. He will be a special advisor to their pitchers.Kasten is a smart man. He is bridging the gap to their icons which was something that has been a burned bridge with most Dodgers of the past except Tommy Lasorda.

  54. Theophilus T. S. - Jan 23, 2013 at 1:21 AM

    Kasten may build bridges to icons but has yet to prove to me he can build a baseball team. His rep was built entirely on the back of John Schuerholz. He was foisted on the Lerners by Selig as a consolation prize for the failure of his group's bid for the team. He allowed Bowden to load the roster with flaming bags of dog dung until forced out by scandal. Once the Lerners realized that Rizzo really knew what he was doing, Kasten became superfluous (on his best days). So far as I can tell, "the Plan" consisted of Kasten finding a way to leverage his small piece of ownership into a big payoff. So far as I know, that "Plan" worked about as well as his stewardship of the roster. With the Dodgers, the only steps — whether orchestrated by Kasten or tolerated by him — have been to spend gazillions of ownership money on head cases. The Dodgers haven't had good management since Bavasi.

  55. Section 3, my sofa - Jan 23, 2013 at 1:27 AM

    "You're 25, you've had TJ surgery and someone says I'll give you $40-50 Million guaranteed money or you can take it one year at a time and hope for the best. What would you do?"Except I haven't spent the past several years considering the very real probability of an eight-figure salary. One's thought processes are affected by that, I think.

  56. Tony - Jan 23, 2013 at 1:45 AM

    Say what you will about Kasten, but the Nats were a better team when he left than they were when he got here. He had to have been doing something right.

  57. realdealnats - Jan 23, 2013 at 1:50 AM

    Candide–Always love your literary bent.

  58. waddu eye no - Jan 23, 2013 at 2:58 AM

    SCNatsFan said…Perhaps we should be paying the doctors 10M a year not the players.for dr. andrews, that would be a 5o million pay cut:http://deadspin.com/5047931/meet-dr-james-andrews-the-man-who-operates-on-your-favorite-player

  59. baseballswami - Jan 23, 2013 at 3:07 AM

    We should all chip in and get Dr. Andrews a Nats cap with Pom Poms on top.

  60. NCNatsie - Jan 23, 2013 at 3:18 AM

    Candide wrote (well, he didn't actually 'write it,' but you know…): "It yearns me not if men my garments wear…"Is this something about how many of your sherseys they sell?

  61. NatsLady - Jan 23, 2013 at 3:19 AM

    It's Gio Gonzalez Day in Hialeah, FL. Official proclamation.http://instagram.com/p/Uzpo8RoKdy/

  62. peric - Jan 23, 2013 at 4:48 AM

    The Core 6 to me is RZim, Gio, JZim, Desi, Stras and Harper.In 2017-2018 RZim drops off he'll be in his middle 30's like Werth and LaRoche. Your list should read:Gio, Stras, JZim, Harper, Desmond, Rendon, Espinosa, and perhaps T-Mo and Goodwin.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 88 64 --
ATLANTA 76 76 12.0
MIAMI 74 78 14.0
NEW YORK 73 80 15.5
PHILADELPHIA 70 83 18.5
x-Clinched NL East title

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON 88 64 --
LOS ANGELES 87 66 1.5
ST. LOUIS 85 68 3.5
-----------------------
SAN FRANCISCO 84 68 4.0 +2.0
PITTSBURGH 82 70 6.0 --
MILWAUKEE 79 74 9.5 3.5
x-Clinched division title

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
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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.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
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