Wire Taps: Washington Nationals Weekend In Review - Spring Training Week 1 Done.

February 26, 2012; Melbourne, FL, USA; Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (11) during spring training workouts at Space Coast Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE

Ryan Zimmerman and the Washington Nationals agreed on an extension on Sunday that will keep the 27-year-old third baseman in the nation's capital through at least 2019. The story of Zim and the Nats' negotiations took over the headlines this weekend, causing the kind of distraction the '05 1st Round pick was seeking to avoid, but with the deal done, those following Spring Training can once again turn to speculating about whether or not 19-year-old phenom Bryce Harper is going to make the Opening Day roster? D.C. GM Mike Rizzo went on MLB Network Radio on Sunday after the Nats announced the extension with Zim and the Nats' general manager talked about the continuing search for a center fielder/leadoff man. Davey Johnson talked to CSNWashington.com's Kelli Johnson this weekend and told the CSNWashington reporter that if the Nationals didn't make the playoffs, "They can fire me." The Washington Nationals are a confident bunch this Spring. Stephen Strasburg threw live BP on Sunday. Bryce Harper faced off against Drew Storen. The Nats' new lefty Gio Gonzalez impressed everyone with his curve ball. If you weren't paying attention this weekend...Why weren't you paying attention to the Nationals? It's Spring Training. This is a link post. Here are the links...RIGHT NOW!!!

• THE BIG STORY:

• "'They’ve given me everything,' Zimmerman said. 'They’ve given me a chance to play at this level, a chance to do everything I’ve done.'" - "Ryan Zimmerman’s contract extension news conference highlights" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• NATS BEAT:

• "Said one competing executive of the Nats' two nine-figure deals now in the books: 'Seems like they have two $100 million contracts but no $100 million payers.''' - "Early word: Nats paid too much for Zimmerman" - Jon Heyman, CBSSports.com

Spring Training Photos via @NationalsPR On Twitter: "Bryce Harper faced closer Drew Storen during today's live BP session."

• "During the press conference Sunday to announce his six-year, $100 million contract extension, Zimmerman mentioned how rare it is for players in this era to spend their entire careers with the same team." - "Would Strasburg be open to following in Zimmerman's footsteps?" - Pete Kerzel, MASNSports.com

• "Almost 20 of Zimmerman’s teammates and coaches had crowded into the cramped room, so many there wasn’t enough chairs to hold all of them." - "Nationals lock up Zimmerman for next eight seasons" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "The 'Face of the Franchise' since he was drafted in June 2005, Zimmerman ensured he will retain that title for quite some time." - "Zim: 'It's where I've always wanted to be'" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "'The whole team showed up to make me even more nervous to talk,' Zimmerman said. 'It's their goal [to win the World Series], too.'" - "Teammates on hand to support Ryan Zimmerman after Nationals signed third baseman to extension" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• “'This blueprint is the way to stay good for a longer period of time,' Zimmerman said before the start of the spring training." - "With Ryan Zimmerman’s contract in place, the Nationals’ core takes shape" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "That’s a big paycheck, but Zimmerman is one of the game’s most underrated players, and the Nationals correctly identified his skillset as one worth keeping around." - "Comps For Ryan Zimmerman’s Extension" - Dave Cameron, FanGraphs Baseball

• "Not only is he a teammate but he's one of our friends. We support the decision on both sides to come to an agreement." - John Lannan on Ryan Zimmerman's extension - "Teammates react to Ryan Zimmerman's contract extension" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "I'm sure the immediate reaction of many Mets' fans was 'Why can't the Mets do something like that with David Wright?' My immediate reaction was: WHAT THE HELL ARE THE NATIONALS THINKING?" - "Will Ryan Zimmerman's extension impact David Wright? The answer is blowing in the wind" - Bill Price, New York Daily News

• "Those who haven't had the pleasure of watching Zimmerman play every day for the last six seasons have no idea what they've been missing." - "Forever the Face of the Franchise" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "'Since I've arrived here in 2006, he is the epitome of a lead-by-example guy,' said general manager Mike Rizzo on why he wanted to sign Zimmerman long term.'" - "The Nationals and third baseman Ryan Zimmerman have agreed to terms on a contract extension." - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

Spring Training Photos via @NationalsPR On Twitter: "One of the NL's top closers, Drew Storen talks with Ian Desmond after throwing live BP."

• "'I expected nothing less than unhittable stuff,' said DeRosa, who had never seen Strasburg in person before." - "Highlights from today's live BP session" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "'You look at talent, it takes about two minutes and your opinions are drawn,' the Nationals manager said Sunday at Space Coast Stadium. "It's not something you have to look at every day for weeks or months.'" - "For Nats' Harper, sky is the limit" - Ken Davidoff, New York Newsday

• "'Matt [Purke] is doing what he is supposed to be doing in his first big league camp,' [Paul] Menhart said. 'He is keeping his mouth shut and he is soaking everything in.'" - "Durbin and Fulchino looking to make presence felt in Nationals' camp; update on Purke" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "With all of the hoopla this spring training about Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez and Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman, Zimmermann's been kind of the forgotten man." - "Live batting practice not Zimmermann's favorite time of year" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "When the showdown fizzled, the players showed their personalities – Harper was aware and disappointed, while Strasburg was ambivalent." - "As Stephen Strasburg-Bryce Harper showdown fizzles, Gio Gonzalez’s curveball steals the show" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "'I’ll say this: Everybody writes a lot about Super Twos and all that stuff. That probably plays more into it if you’re a second-division ballclub.'" - Davey Johnson on Bryce Harper - "Nationals phenom Bryce Harper might start season in minors but expect him in Washington soon" - Ken Rosenthal, FOXSports.com

• "[Mark] DeRosa said he also saw [Stephen] Strasburg's changeup, though it's easily confused with a splitter." - "Strasburg, Gonzalez impress in live batting practice" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "If Roger Bernadina is concerned that he might get squeezed out of the Nationals' outfield picture, he isn't letting on." - "Caught in numbers crunch, Bernadina doesn't seem concerned" - Pete Kerzel, MASNSports.com

• "Nationals manager Davey Johnson said left-hander Matt Purke, the team's third-round pick in the 2011 First Year Player Draft, will start against Georgetown University on Friday." - "Rotation set up to start game action" - Bill Ladson, MLB.com

• "When his father taught him a curveball, it wasn’t a normal method. 'I can’t explain it or show how to do it,' [Gio] Gonzalez said." - "Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez learned curveball, so much more from his father" - Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post

Submit Your Questions: Ask [Thomas] Boswell about the Washington Nationals, spring training, the Capitals, the Redskins and all Washington sports - The Washington Post

• "[Jim] Callis said [Anthony] Rendon may not hit as many home runs as Harper, but he still has the potential to be a consistent major league hitter and get a ton of extra base hits in his own right." - "Baseball America's Callis believes Rendon in D.C. some time in 2013" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "[Gio] Gonzalez’s single greatest pitching weapon — a curveball Braden called "otherworldly" — followed a similar trajectory." - "Nationals’ Gio Gonzalez matured into a pitcher and a friend with Oakland Athletics" - Dave Sheinin, The Washington Post

• "Adam LaRoche fully admits he doesn't feel he's back to 100 percent with his throwing after labrum surgery on his left shoulder last June." - "Notes from Saturday's full-squad workout" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Harper was disappointed he didn't get to hit off Strasburg, though he knows that opportunity will likely eventually happen." - "Harper gets to face other first-rounder in live BP" - Pete Kerzel, MASNSports.com

• "'I felt great. Everything was normal,' Strasburg said. 'I have high expectation of myself, especially out there.'" - "Strasburg impresses facing hitters in BP" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

Spring Training Pics via @washingnats: "Jayson Werth and his beard are talking to Michael Morse during batting practice."

• "'He showed me a splitter, or a changeup, or whatever that was,' DeRosa said. 'I know there's a difference there, but his heater's so hot.'" - Mark DeRosa on Stephen Strasburg - "DeRosa celebrates 37th birthday by facing Strasburg" - Pete Kerzel, MASNSports.com

Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama On Twitter (@DalaiLama): "If we seek happiness for ourselves, we should practice compassion: and if we seek happiness for others, we should also practice compassion."

NATSSHARKTOWN!!!:

"Cage goes in the water, you go in the water. Shark's in the water. Our shark." - Quint - "Sadly, and somewhat ridiculously, the Shark is one of the players who will be fighting for his spot this spring." - - "Shark Vs The Competition" - Sharkadina

• NATSTOWN:

• "[Gerardo] Parra is just 24 years old and under team control through the 2015 season. He is eligible for arbitration after this season." - "Nationals Show Interest in OF Gerardo Parra" - Joe Drugan, The Nats Blog

• "Thanks to Peter Angelos and the good folks at MASN, National fans had to rely on Twitter, and grainy Twitpics like the above, to get a feel for Ryan Zimmerman's press conference..." - "Michael Morse is in Beast Mode at Ryan Zimmerman press conference" - Nats Enquirer

• "1. ZNN, Strasburg, Gio, Ramos, Espinosa will all hit big bucks from 2015-2017, some will be dealt before reaching FA." - "Quick Branching Hits on Zimm's signing" - Harper, Nationals Baseball

• "Everyone can now take a sigh of relief. Ryan Zimmerman’s going to be National until at least 2019." - "Breaking it down: the Zimmerman deal by the numbers" - Kristen, Win For Teddy

• "Now, [Ryan] Zimmerman and the Nats players can go about taking care of their business on the field. GM MIke Rizzo can go back to his business of trying to find a center fielder." - "Zimmerman and Nationals agree to long-term deal" - Dave Nichols, District Sports Page

• "The Ripple Effect of the Zimmerman Contract" - Luke Erickson, NationalsProspects.com

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Marlins: "Meanwhile, in case Ramirez's feelings are ahead of his skills, new Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen has begun lowering expectations for Ramirez at third base." - "Hanley talks great game, says he'll be best 3B" - Jon Heyman, CBSSports.com

Braves: "Even more than [Martin] Prado, the right-hander sounds as though his days with the Braves are numbered. 'It's not my first rodeo,' [Jair] Jurrjens said with a shrug. 'All those trade rumors, I'm used to it.'" - "Prado, Jurrjens remain a bit uneasy" - AP/The Clarion-Ledger

• Mets: "David Wright, two years older, played third base for the Virginia Blasters and, thus, Ryan Zimmerman had to man second." - "Joel Sherman says New York Mets trading David Wright seems inevitable" - Joel Sherman, NYPOST.com

Phillies: "It was late September 2003, and the Phillies were playing Juan Pierre's Florida Marlins at whatever that football stadium in South Florida was called at the time." - "Inside the Phillies: Can Pierre steal a roster spot?" - Bob Brookover, Philadelphia Inquirer

• Marlins: "[Jeffrey] Loria didn't hesitate when asked if this was the best Marlins team he's fielded at the start of spring training. Why shouldn't it be?" - "Owner Jeffrey Loria says team ready to gel into something special" - Juan C. Rodriguez, South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com

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