Nats renew Zimmerman's contract
Washington hopes to sign third baseman to multiyear deal
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- The Nationals renewed the contract of third baseman Ryan Zimmerman on Saturday. He will make $465,000 for the 2008 season.Zimmerman said he doesn't have any hard feelings toward the Nationals. The team had until March 11 to renew the contract. "It's just part of the system. I'm not upset about anything," Zimmerman said. "They have control [of me] for three years, and that's how it goes. Many people before me have done it the same way." General manager Jim Bowden reiterated that both parties are on good terms and are willing to negotiate a multiyear deal. Vowing not to break the bank, the Nationals are willing to give Zimmerman a contract that is similar to Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who signed a six-year, $31 million contract on Jan. 23. Sources have indicated that Zimmerman wants a bigger deal. "We are going forward to get a multiyear deal done," Bowden said. "I'm very hopeful that it does take place at some point. We want Ryan to start and finish his career as a National. As I told him yesterday, I look forward to the day that number 11 is hanging on the outfield wall -- the first Washington National to retire in 20 years." Agent Brodie Van Wagenen, who predicted last month that Zimmerman's contract would be renewed, doesn't think a multiyear deal will happen "in the near future." "The good part is that we know where each other stand. There is [no animosity]," Van Wagenen said. In 2007, Zimmerman hit .266 with 24 home runs and 91 RBIs. It marked the second consecutive season in which he drove in 90 or more runs. In March 2007, the Nationals renewed Zimmerman's contract for $400,000. Zimmerman is eligible for arbitration after the '08 season and can file for free agency three years after that. "I'm not opposed to doing a deal. It's just going to be a matter of having it make sense for both sides," Zimmerman said. "I'm sure they will talk to my agent during the year. As far as me being involved now, it's time for baseball. My job is to help this team win, not worry about getting myself a contract." It appears that Zimmerman is in midseason form on the field. On Saturday, he went 2-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs against the Astros. For the spring, Zimmerman is 6-for-14 with two home runs and six RBIs. "He's ready to go. We are just pacing him. He doesn't need to have that many at-bats," manager Manny Acta said. "I think his overall numbers are going to improve because the overall offense we have here. It's tough to drive in guys when we had a tough time getting on base in the top of the order."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.