VIERA, Fla. — Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo met Thursday afternoon with third baseman Ryan Zimmerman’s agent, Brodie Van Wagenen of CAA, but Rizzo said after the meeting that he didn’t anticipate having a significant update the rest of the evening.
The Nationals have until the Nationals’ first full-squad workout on Saturday morning to come to an agreement on an extension for the face of their franchise, otherwise Zimmerman said he’d table discussions until after the season.
The sides are close — they’ve been discussing this contract for a long time, cordially and openly, and the Nationals know where Zimmerman stands — but they were no closer Thursday evening than they were Thursday morning, Rizzo said. Thursday morning the GM said he was “hopeful” they could come to an agreement before Saturday.
One hold up, though, could be a no-trade provision. The Washington Post reported earlier Thursday that it was indeed one hangup in the negotiations.
The Nationals used to have a policy firmly against no-trade clauses but they broke that when they gave one to Jayson Werth in 2010.
A no-trade provision for Zimmerman would only need to be in place for the first four years of the potential extension. With six years of MLB service time already accrued, Zimmerman would earn 10-5 rights after the 2015 season — 10 years of major league service time and the last five with the same team — which would grant him a full no-trade clause anyway.
Van Wagenen was scheduled to leave Viera Thursday evening but the sides will continue to talk until Saturday. Rizzo said Thursday that Zimmerman’s deadline won’t stop him from reaching out to Van Wagenen though he understands the third baseman’s position.