In a Washington Post article published ten days back now, 28-year-old right-hander Jordan Zimmermann told WaPost reporter James Wagner that he would still like to stay with the Washington Nationals who drafted and developed him if the right deal can be agreed upon.
If the two sides can't agree on what they see as a "fair" long-term deal, the Nats' '07 2nd Round pick is due to become a free agent after the 2015 campaign.
There have been plenty of rumors about interest in Zimmermann already this winter, some of which have been quickly shot down or explained away as the Nationals trying to "smoke out" interest in the veteran of six MLB seasons who finished the 2014 campaign at (14-5) with a 2.66 ERA, a 2.68 FIP, 29 walks (1.31 BB/9) and 182 Ks (8.20 K/9) in 32 starts and 199 ⅔ IP over which he was worth a career-high +5.2 fWAR.
The two sides discussed a long-term extension before agreeing on a 2-year/$24M deal last January which bought out the righty's final two years of arbitration eligibility.
According to the report in the Washington Post, however, when it comes to a long-term deal, "... the Nationals and Zimmermann’s agent have not picked extension talks back up," this winter.
With the Winter Meetings just a week away (December 8-11 in San Diego) the chatter about Zimmermann is sure to pick up in the near future.
Zimmermann: "I never once said I didn’t want to stay in D.C. But at the end of the day, the deal has to be right." http://t.co/7iJSjNkrRz— James Wagner (@JamesWagnerWP) November 20, 2014
Boston Globe baseball writer Nick Cafardo wrote this morning in his weekly "Sunday Baseball Notes" column that it is, "[h]ard to tell whether the Nationals are serious about trading Zimmermann," because they have the "resources" to sign the right-hander and he is arguably the Nats' best starter.
An NL executive he spoke to about Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo's thinking when it comes to Zimmermann said it was "'Pretty simple, actually.'"
"'It doesn’t hurt to listen... If you get overwhelmed, you do it. If you don’t, you keep him.'"
If they aren't overwhelmed, do the Nationals keep him for 2015 and allow Zimmermann to walk, with a qualifying offer guaranteeing they receive a compensatory draft pick?
The Nationals have also discussed a long-term extension with Doug Fister, another member of the Nats' rotation who is due to become a free agent after this season.
In a separate article last week, the Washington Post's James Wagner reported that though the 30-year-old starter and the Nationals discussed an extension last winter after the trade that brought Fister to D.C. from Detroit, "a person familiar with the situation," told him that, "...there has been no progress since, and no talks for months."
MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince listed both Zimmermann and Fister as "top-of-the-rotation types" who were part of a market that could heat up as soon as left-hander Jon Lester and righty Max Scherzer sign.
Zimmermann, Fister, Ian Desmond, Denard Span and Tyler Clippard are all due to hit free agency after the 2015 campaign. Wagner wrote that the Nationals, "... remain open-minded about potential trades of any of their players with one year of control left, a move that could subtract from a 2015 team capable of contending for a World Series but would protect the future."
The Nationals have been open about interest in adding a second baseman this winter, and there was talk last week about bullpen possibilities as the Nats try to bolster an already impressive reliefs corps.
Will Rizzo trade for the second baseman he's after? Will they keep the rotation in tact and make another run at the postseason with the current pieces in place? Can the Nationals "protect the future" and remain competitive now?
How many days until pitchers and catchers report?