In a Winter Meetings preview published today, FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal included Jordan Zimmermann on a list of pitchers who are set to become free agents after the 2015 campaign and are thus considered "in play" this winter for teams looking to trade for starting pitching. The bow-tied reporter did, however, write in the article that the Nationals, "... are expected to make another run at extending Zimmermann."
In a November 20th report in the Washington Post, Nats beat writer James Wagner wrote that the Nationals and their '07 2nd Round pick talked about a long-term extension before they agreed on a 2-year/$24M deal that bought out his final two seasons of abitration-eligibility last winter, but reported that the 28-year-old Zimmermann and the Nationals hadn't talked since then.
In a Chicago Sun-Times' article by reporter Gordon Wittenmyer last month quoting "multiple sources" who said that the Chicago Cubs were, "in talks with the Washington Nationals to acquire right-hander Jordan Zimmermann," Wittenmyer wrote that Zimmermann, "... turned down a five-year, $85-million extension offer last year before agreeing to a two-year deal that suddenly makes him a trade candidate this winter."
The WaPost's James Wagner wrote in November that, "[t]hat number," presumably the overall dollar amount, "... is believed to have been lower."
Wittenmyer wasn't the only one to report on the 5-year/$85M offer, however.
MLB.com's Bill Ladson wrote earlier this winter that "according to two sources, the Nationals tried to sign Zimmermann to a five-year deal at $17 million per season," before Opening Day.
Zimmermann, who according to Wagner, "declined to elaborate about any past talks," did, however, say in November that he had not, "heard anything this offseason," and hasn't, "... heard anything yet this year," before adding that though, "'So far, it’s quiet. We’ll see what the next month or so brings.'"
He also said he remained open to the idea of remaining in the nation's capital:
"'If the deal is right, I’ll definitely sign a multi-year deal,' Zimmermann said. '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 and the deal has to be fair and that’s all I’m asking for. Just pay me what I’m worth and I’ll be happy to stay. If we can’t come to common ground, I guess free agency is the next step.'"
Following up on what he said in the preview of this week's Winter Meetings, FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal wrote on Twitter tonight that the Nationals planned to once again talk extension with Zimmermann:
Sources: #Nationals planning another effort to sign Jordan Zimmermann long-term. Team has made multiple attempts. Entering walk year.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 8, 2014
MLB.com's Bill Ladson quickly confirmed that he'd heard the same:
In writing about the reports tonight, The Washington Post's James Wagner reiterated what he wrote previously this winter about the offer made by the Nationals being lower than the reported 5-year/$85M extension, noting that "two people familiar with the situation" said it was more in the "$60 million range."
The starting point for negotiatons now, he suggests, "... will likely have to start at a higher point than either offer to re-engage Zimmermann’s representatives about a long-term deal."
Will this be the last effort before the Nationals consider offers for Zimmermann?
Will they risk going into the season with Zimmermann a part of the rotation and risk having him become a free agent?
Is the compensatory draft pick they'd receive if they make a qualifying offer enough of a return?
How much will it take to sign Zimmermann?
The WaPost's Wagner cites Homer Bailey's 6-year/$105M dollar deal and the six-year $147M and $144M signed by Zack Greinke and Cole Hamels, respectively, as the neighborhood Zimmermann's pitched himself into with his work so far in the majors.
Talk of an extension for Zimmermann has been going on since at least 2012.
FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal wrote last winter that the two sides discussed a long-term deal at least twice before picking up negotiations again last winter:
I asked #Nationals GM Mike Rizzo, who said, "We’d certainly love to get something done with him. But like any premium guy on your team, if …— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 11, 2013
"…there is something that can’t be done, then you would think about a trade. But that’s the furthest thing from our minds." #Nationals— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 11, 2013
After he agreed on the 2-year/$24M deal in mid-January last winter, Zimmermann told The Washington Post's Adam Kilgore that the two sides, "'... had been "working on a long-term deal' this week," but Zimmermann said they, "... were 'too far apart to get that done.'"
Will the latest round of negotiations lead to a long-term deal that keeps the pitcher the Nationals drafted and developed in the nation's capital?