- The Washington Times - Friday, February 20, 2009

VIERA, Fla. — Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman and the Washington Nationals agreed to a $3,325,000, one-year contract, avoiding arbitration.

Ryan Zimmerman and the Nationals agreed on a one-year, $3.325 million contract early this morning in Phoenix, avoiding an arbitration hearing that had been scheduled for later today.

The settlement was at precisely the midpoint of the salaries submitted by both sides for arbitration. Zimmerman had been seeking $3.9 million; the Nats had countered at $2.75 million.

This is the first big payday of the third baseman’s career. He earned $465,000 last season but was eligible for arbitration for the first time this winter.

This should put to rest any questions of bad vibes between Zimmerman and the front office. It also should delay any negotiations for a long-term deal. I would expect those to be put off until at least midseason, once Zimmerman has a chance to put up some decent numbers.

Assuming he’s getting on a flight from Phoenix back to Florida this morning, I doubt we’ll see Zimmerman at the ballpark today. He should be in uniform tomorrow.

All 39 players on Washington’s 40-man roster are now signed and under contract for 2009.

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