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Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo talks contract extensions, PTBNL remaining in Padres' system

Washington Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo talked to MLB Network Radio hosts Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette on Sunday in a wide-ranging interview that touched on potential long-term extensions for key Nats' players and the PTBNL in last month's three-team trade.

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When he spoke to reporters at last month's NatsFest, 28-year-old right-hander Jordan Zimmermann reiterated what he's said all along about potentially signing a long-term deal that will keep him in the nation's capital beyond 2015.

If he and the Nationals can agree on what he sees as a fair deal, he'd be happy to sign on to stay with the team that drafted him in the 2nd Round of the 2007 Draft.

"If it's a fair value, like I have said all along, I would gladly sign," Zimmermann said. "But at the end of the day, it's gotta be something that's fair and if it's not, then I'll be moving on."

"Each individual player is different. Some guys it doesn't bother them to have an open discussion throughout the season, it's not a distraction to them..." -Mike Rizzo on willingness to keep talking extentions

Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo said then that though he'd talked to Zimmermann's representatives this winter, there were no further meetings planned at the time.

"We haven't set up [more meetings] yet, I haven't spoken to them since the Winter Meetings," Rizzo said.

Zimmermann is one of five key Nats, along with Doug Fister, Denard Span, Tyler Clippard and Ian Desmond, who are set to hit free agency after the upcoming season.

As of yet, none of them have signed on long-term, but as Rizzo explained in an MLB Network Radio interview on Sunday, he's willing to keep talking about extensions.

"We certainly wouldn't put any arbitrary deadline on any kind of negotiations or discussions," Rizzo told hosts Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette.

"We like all those players that you talked about," he said, referring to the aforementioned free agents-to-be.

"We have a bunch of players that are into their five-plus season that are going to be free agents at the end of the year and we like all of them. We've grown fond of all those players that are potential free agents this year and we certainly wouldn't put any kind of deadline on something to stop talking. Each individual player is different. Some guys it doesn't bother them to have an open discussion throughout the season, it's not a distraction to them, but some players certainly want a certain date so they can focus solely on baseball.

"As you guys know, I've never discussed... a negotiation has never centered around a player. We never talk monetary terms with players, it's always through the agent and if the player can focus in on that type of thing throughout the season we certainly feel good about discussing it with them throughout the season."

Trea Turner Talk:

In Sunday's interview, Rizzo was also asked about the potentially awkward situation Trea Turner, the Player to be Named Later acquired by the Nationals in the three-team trade with the San Diego Padres and Tampa Bay Rays last month, finds himself in since the Padres' 2014 1st Round pick can't be dealt until mid-June, a year after he was signed.

As of now, Turner will start the season in San Diego's system and remain there until he can actually be traded.

Rizzo broke down Turner's situation for MLB Network Radio hosts Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette.

"Any time you have a player to be named later," the Nationals' GM explained, "you pick from a list that you have written down, it's in the Commisioner's Office, it's an agreed-upon list and then at the time that the player to be named later becomes a part of the trade, you pick from that list. And we're going to follow that protocol and do the same.

"Any time you have a player or a group of players that are going to be playing in another organization, you certainly have to trust the organization to do right by the player and we feel good about that aspect of the player to be named later part of the trade."

In his first professional season after the Padres selected him 13th overall out of North Carolina State, Turner put up a .323/.406/.448 line with 16 doubles, two triples and five home runs in 321 plate appearances.

Turner, 21, was listed as the Nationals' no.2 prospect by Baseball America after he was announced as the PTBNL in the three-team deal.