Sep 22, 2011; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (11) during an at bat during the eighth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The Nationals defeated the Phillies 6-1. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Ryan Zimmerman Extension: Nationals GM Mike Rizzo Remains "Hopeful"

Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo remains hopeful that his club will be able to agree to a contract extension with third baseman Ryan Zimmerman despite the All-Star’s self-imposed Saturday morning deadline.  Zimmerman has made it clear that he does not want his contract situation distracting him during the regular season.  The 27-year-old has said he will no longer negotiate with the Nationals once position players are officially scheduled to report to spring training Saturday.

In speaking with Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, Rizzo said that the Nationals goal remains getting Zimmerman signed long-term.  While he doesn’t know if an agreement will be reached by Saturday’s deadline, Rizzo made it clear that Washington is continuing to work “extremely hard” at getting a deal done.

Regarding Saturday’s deadline, Rizzo told Kilgore that he will not let it stop him from speaking with Zimmerman’s agent.

While the Nationals have added several significant players over the years via trade, free agency and the draft, Zimmerman remains one of the primary faces of the franchise.  The two-time Silver Slugger’s current contract runs through the 2013 season.  Zimmerman is set to make $12 million this season and another $14 million in 2013.

Zimmerman’s numbers were down last season, but this below average performance can likely be chalked up to injury.  Only able to play in 101 games for the Nationals in 2011, Zimmerman posted a line of .289/.355/.443 over his 440 plate appearances.  What took the biggest hit in 2011 was Zimmerman’s power numbers.  After tallying more than 25 home runs and 32 doubles in 2009-10, Zimmerman was only able to total 12 home runs and 21 doubles last season.

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Tags: Ryan Zimmerman Washington Nationals

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