VIERA, Fla. — As the hours tick toward a self-imposed Saturday deadline, Ryan Zimmerman said Friday morning there was nothing new to report on his contract-extension negotiations.
“Nothing has changed” since Thursday, Zimmerman said upon arrival in the Nationals’ clubhouse. He said he had spoken to general manager Mike Rizzo, but the two talked only about Brewers star Ryan Braun’s suspension being overturned. Rizzo also said Friday morning there were no new developments.
Zimmerman’s agent, Brodie Van Wagenen has been in Viera the last few days trying to hammer out an extension for his client, who is currently under contract through the 2013 season. Zimmerman has said he wants any negotiations wrapped up by Saturday, the first day of official workouts for position players.
A new deal likely would run five to eight years and be worth $120 million to $160 million. According to some reports Thursday, a no-trade clause was one of the items still being discussed by the parties. Though he didn’t come right out and say it Friday, it’s clear Zimmerman would prefer to have that included in any deal.
“The point of me signing this deal is to be here,” he said, “not to sign a deal that’s team-friendly to have it with another team. That’s the whole point of the deal.”
Still, Zimmerman insisted he hasn’t spent much time worrying about whether the new deal will get done.
“If it happens, I’m thrilled. If not, I’ve got two years left here still and I’m excited for this year,” he said. “I think we’ve got a great team, we’ve got a chance to do something special, something that’s never been done with this organization, and I think all of us are kind of ready to get to work and just get going.”
That’s what he’ll do Saturday morning along with the rest of the position players no matter what happens with negotiations. While Zimmerman isn’t interested in continuing contract talks during the season, there’s nothing to preclude he and the Nats from revisiting the subject next offseason if a deal isn’t struck by Saturday.
“It’s not like this is the last year, so this is not a make-or-break, but I think getting this done would obviously make them not have to worry about it for this year or next year or next offseason or anything like that,” Zimmerman said. “It kind of gives us a core group of guys in place for a long time and they can forget about me and start worrying about the younger guys that are going to need to be taken care of in a couple years.”