The Nationals and Ryan Zimmerman must clear major hurdles before agreeing on a contract extension before the Saturday deadline Zimmerman has imposed, most notably the issue of Zimmerman’s no-trade protection, a person familiar with the situation said.
General Manager Mike Rizzo and Brodie Van Wagenen, Zimmerman’s agent, met this afternoon in Viera to discuss the extension. Zimmerman instituted the deadline to not distract from his play or his teammates during spring training.
Zimmerman has frequently been open about his desire to finish his career in Washington, the only team he has ever played, a short drive from his family in Virginia Beach. He entered in negotiations after a season in which he missed 60 games because of injury, willing to exchange value on the free agent market for security.
The Nationals have shown willingness to offer full no-trade clauses before. They signed outfielder Jayson Werth as a free agent to a seven-year, $126 million deal in December 2010 that included a full no-trade clause.
A deal could be completed by Saturday, the official start of full-squad workouts, if the sides can reach an agreement on Zimmerman’s no-trade protection. They are not necessarily that much closer to a deal than they have been for recent weeks – the Nationals have know the cost it would take to lock Zimmerman up since January.
Van Wagenen declined requests for comment. Rizzo addressed Zimmerman’s contract status earlier today and offered no specifics on the negotiations, but said he was “hopeful” a deal could get done.