The Washington Nationals and 2007 2nd Round pick, Jordan Zimmermann, settled on a 2-year/$24M deal last January that will pay the six-year veteran $16.5M this season after the two sides reportedly talked again about the possibility of a long-term extension and failed to reach an agreement.
Will they talk again this Spring?
"He isn’t sure if the Nationals will approach him again during spring training," Washington Post beat writer James Wagner wrote on Saturday, after the 28-year-old right-hander spoke reporters for the first time at the Nats' Spring Training facilities.
Zimmermann said he's still willing to listen, however, telling reporters, "'... if they want to bring something up, we’re here to listen.'"
Zimmermann did say though, that once the season starts he would prefer to focus on baseball:
"'So if something happens in spring here, we’re willing to listen,' he said. 'But once the season starts, I don’t really want to talk about it.'"
In a segment on the MLB Network Radio show "Front Office" this morning, former Nats' GM Jim Bowden told co-host Jim Duquette he doesn't think there is any possibility that Zimmermann will get a long-term deal from the Nationals at this point, especially after Washington signed right-hander Max Scherzer to a 7-year/$210M deal last month.
"He's gone," Bowden said, referring to Zimmermann. "It's over. This will be his last year as a National. This was a guy that we drafted that, as you said, we drafted him when I was there, it was one of my favorite draft stories about having to decide between evaluators when you pull the trigger on a decision and as a GM I had to get involved in this one to draft him, and I went with Mike Rizzo and Kris Kline and Bob Boone and what they thought and certainly that decision was huge.
"And of course, he was the compensation pick for [Alfonso] Soriano, but it's over. I think it's going to be a great final year, I think his final year in Washington could also mean a World Championship, but the minute they signed Max Scherzer, Zimmermann's days were over. It was that simple."
Zimmermann told the WaPost's Wagner that he was surprised by the deal Scherzer signed:
"'Obviously it’s definitely shocking when you see a guy get that much money,' Zimmermann said. 'I’m happy for him. There’s nothing I can really do. We negotiated a little bit and didn’t get very far. So I’m happy for him.'"
"The Nationals tried for the last three years to extend Jordan Zimmermann on a long-term deal," Bowden continued.
"They put a value on him and they negotiated up to that value and they weren't even close."
"Zimmermann is going to get in the Lester area," Bowden said, referring to the 6-year/$155M deal the Cubs signed Jon Lester to this winter.
"That's the ballpark [Zimmermann] is. Johnny Cueto is going to probably sign between now and Opening Day, he's going to be in the Lester area. So that's what it's going to take. They worked at the Winter Meetings and they met with his representatives and once again didn't make any progress, and when that happened, remember, the Nationals were not in on Max Scherzer. They weren't in on him in December.
"They were in on trying to negotiate a deal with Jordan Zimmermann and getting that deal done. That was their priority. When that did not get done and they were distance, the Lerner family got involved and started the pursuit of Scherzer and they got it done, because they're long-term thinkers and they didn't want to wait and watch Zimmermann and [Ian] Desmond walk and then not have a plan ready to go and then have to get into a bidding war.
"So they decided, 'You know what, we'll get Scherzer now. Zimmermann walks, we'll be okay because we have [Scherzer].'
"They made the deal for Joe Ross, a young pitcher coming up, they've got Lucas Giolito and A.J. Cole coming up through the system. They think they have the capability of being Jordan Zimmermann, and this is going to be an uncomfortable business decision and he is going to walk away."