Zim, Nats expected to meet this week

Zim, Nats expected to meet this week
February 22, 2012, 5:34 pm
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VIERA, Fla. -- Ryan Zimmerman's agent was at the Nationals workout this morning and is expected to meet with general manager Mike Rizzo in the next few days to pick up negotiations on a long-term contract extension.

Brodie Van Wagenen, who represents Zimmerman along with several other Nationals players including John Lannan and Drew Storen, is making his annual tour of spring training facilities to visit his clients. But the Zimmerman contract remains a top priority both for him and for the franchise.

Van Wagenen declined to comment on the negotiations but indicated he's likely to have an update on the situation in the next day or two.

Though Zimmerman has two years remaining on his current 45 million deal, both he and the club have expressed an interest to work out a long-term extension for more than a year now. Zimmerman has also said he won't negotiate once spring training officially opens for all position players (the first full-squad workout is scheduled for Saturday) so that creates a potentially small window for the two sides to try to work something out.

There is some incentive for Zimmerman to wait until next offseason to sign, considering he's coming off an injury-plagued 2011 in which he hit .289 with 12 homers and 49 RBI. If he stays healthy and duplicates his peak performances from 2009-10 (when he averaged 29 homers, 96 RBI and a .299 average) he could command a more significant package.

The 27-year-old third baseman, though, has always expressed his desire to stay in Washington for his entire career and has previously shown a willingness to sign a contract at a point when his value was down. (The current five-year, 45 million deal was signed at the start of the 2009 season, after Zimmerman missed much of 2008 due to a shoulder injury.)