Jordan Zimmermann said there has been “a little bit” of progress in his negotiations with the Nationals over his salary for the 2013 season. But the right-handed starter admitted that issues still remain for both sides to agree to a contract with his arbitration hearing date looming just over a week away.
“We’ll see what happens,” said Zimmermann, after throwing on Monday morning ahead of Tuesday’s report date for pitchers and catchers in Viera. “The case is Feb. 19, so it’s creeping up on us. But we’ve got a few things to work out yet and we’ll see what happens.”
If necessary, Zimmermann’s arbitration hearing is set for Feb. 19, which would mean he would have to leave spring training for a few days if chose to attend the meeting in Phoenix. Zimmermann, 26, was approached by the Nationals before the 2012 season about the idea of a contract extension. He said the current negotiations are solely about a one-year contract to set his salary for 2013 and have not been about a long-term deal. General Manager Mike Rizzo has recently said he would be “open-minded” about a multi-year deal for Zimmermann but wasn’t bent on locking him up immediately, more focused on getting the one-year deal out of the way first.
“We’re ready to go [to the hearing] and if we needed to go we’ll go,” Zimmermann said. “But we’ll just see what happens.”
Zimmermann, whose rights are controlled by the Nationals through the 2015 season, earned $2.3 million last season in his first year of arbitration. He stands to receive a substantial raise this season for his strong 2012 performance, in which he posted a 12-8 record, 2.94 ERA in 195 2/3 innings and started 32 games.
His agency, SFX, is seeking a salary of $5.8 million for next season, but the Nationals have countered with $4.6 million. The mid-point would be $5.2 million. Zimmermann declined to comment when asked if the mid-point was a realistic solution.