01/26/2013 9:06 PM ET
Zimmermann, Nats not close to contract agreement
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
WASHINGTON -- Right-hander Jordan Zimmermann remains the only member of the Nationals who could go to arbitration next month. Zimmermann filed at $5.8 million, while the Nationals want to pay the righty $4.6 million.
To hear Zimmermann tell it, the two parties are not close to a deal.
"We are kind of hung up right now. We'll see what happens," Zimmermann said. "We definitely want to get this deal done and move on. If we have to go [to arbitration], we are ready to go. Obviously, we have a pretty strong case. We'll see what happens."
Zimmermann also said that he would be interested in a multi-year deal, but wants to get the one-year deal done first.
"If the multi-year deal comes and it's the right deal, we'll take it. If not, we'll definitely wait," Zimmermann said.
Zimmermann had a very solid season last year, going 12-8 with a 2.94 ERA and 153 strikeouts. While he was hit hard in his only start in the postseason, Zimmermann also made a relief appearance against the Cardinals and pitched one solid inning and struck the side in a 2-1 victory in Game 4.
Zimmermann said his goal for 2013 is to reach 200 innings and to win at least 16 games. As far as the team goes, he wants to see the Nationals win their first World Series title.
"I'm ready to get back at it, forget about last year and move on," Zimmermann said.
Werth's wrist still not at full strength
WASHINGTON -- Outfielder Jayson Werth did a great job hitting at the leadoff spot for the Nationals last year, going 46-for-149 [.309] with two home runs, 12 RBIs and a .388 on-base percentage at the top of the order.
But with the addition of Denard Span, Werth will move down to the middle of the order – most likely sixth – and that's fine with him.
"I didn't mind leading off last year with the personnel we had. It was best for our team. I was happy to do it," Werth said. "We get a guy like Denard at the top of your lineup that is a prototypical leadoff guy. It's going to be awesome to have him up there."
Werth hopes to completely have his power back by the time the season starts. Last season, Werth broke his left wrist on May 6 against the Phillies, an injury that kept him out of action until early August.
On Saturday, Werth said the wrist is not as strong as he would like it to be. When he returned, he hit just two home runs. For the season, he hit a total of five, not including the game-winning home run against the Cardinals in Game 4 of the National League Division Series.
"At the end of the season, I was dealing with strength. I didn't have the strength. I was told it will come back. It takes time," Werth said. "The power numbers weren't there. Hopefully, it will be there this year. They [the doctors] say 18 months which would put us past the season. So we'll see. I feel confident that I could play at a high level [without the wrist being 100 percent]."
Span believes Nationals will be his best team yet
WASHINGTON -- Center fielder Denard Span played in the postseason with the Twins in 2009 and '10. But he believes the 2013 Nationals will be better than those two teams.
Those two Twins teams were both eliminated in the American League Division Series by the Yankees.
"On paper, [the Nationals] have more talent," Span said. "The teams that I was on [in Minnesota], we were not expected to win our division or go to the playoffs. We kind of snuck up on some teams. So it's going to be a little different for me – being on the other side when you are favored to win. Talent wise, I think we have a deeper team than I've ever been on."
Harper declined to play in World Baseball Classic
WASHINGTON -- Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper was asked to play in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, but turned it down because he wanted to get back into the swing of things during Spring Training.
"It's the first Spring Training I can really be with the big league club," Harper said. "Hopefully, in four years, I will do the WBC then."
Harper was with the big league club during Spring Training the last two years, but was sent down before the end of camp both times. He was promoted to big league club in April of last year, played mostly center field and won the National League Rookie of the Year Award.
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.