No Zimmerman contract talks past Saturday
Nats third baseman's current deal has two years remaining
VIERA, Fla. -- Although Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said he doesn't want to talk about a contract extension after Friday, it will not stop general manager Mike Rizzo from talking to Zimmerman's agent, Brodie Van Wagenen, about a new deal.
"It won't stop me from talking," Rizzo said.
However, according to a baseball source, Zimmerman will stop talking after Saturday morning. Zimmerman and Van Wagenen were not available for comment. Local reporters saw Rizzo near the elevator at Space Coast Stadium on Thursday night and he simply said there isn't a significant update regarding Zimmerman's contract extension.
Van Wagenen was seen at the Nationals' Spring Training complex on Wednesday talking to Rizzo. The two sides also met Thursday afternoon without coming close to a deal. Zimmerman has two years left on his current deal.
Van Wagenen left Viera on Thursday night. However, there is still a 36-hour window to get a deal done. If not, look for Zimmerman to play out the rest of his current contract. Zimmerman, 27, wants to play the rest of his career with the Nationals. It's not known how many years the Nationals are willing to give Zimmerman at this point.
Zimmerman is coming off an injury-plagued season, hitting .289 with 12 home runs and 49 RBIs in 101 games. Zimmerman missed significant time because of an abdominal injury.
Asked Thursday morning if he was confident that he could get a deal done with Zimmerman, Rizzo said, "I don't want to gauge my feelings on it. We are working extremely hard at it. ... I'm hopeful. ... [If we sign him to an extension], it would take something off our plate for the future. We have Ryan for two years. It would put a punctuation on Zim, at least, knowing that he would be with us for the long term."
Outfielder Jayson Werth said he wants Zimmerman to be his teammate for a long time, and he is confident that a deal will get done.
"It's important [to get a deal done] from the standpoint that we want Zim on our team going forward for the long term," Werth said. "I think I heard where if something doesn't get done by the start of the year, it may not get done. Things can always change. I'm not in the conversations, but I do know if something doesn't get done, that does not mean it's not going to get done.
"I'm not jumping on any sides. Business is business. That's the thing about this game. Players get maybe looked at the wrong way sometimes for being business savvy. But I don't ever look at anybody -- from a player's standpoint -- [the wrong way] for being good businessmen, because in the end, the team is going to be that way. There are no friends in this game when it comes to that. You have to take care of yourself, look out for yourself."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.