The Washington Nationals franchise third baseman Ryan Zimmerman has apparently told the team's front office exactly what it would take to sign him long-term, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.com. Rosenthal indicates that negotiations are "fluid" but "within reach." This is a significant development, because as Rosenthal notes, Zimmerman has said he doesn't want to prevent the Nats from making other signings key to the team's success.
This is an unique situation from what we're seeing with the Prince Fielder saga as it contiues to develop. Ryan Zimmerman seems willing to lock himself down early in his career to remain with the Nationals for his entire professional career. Meanwhile, Prince Fielder has chosen to remain on the market nearly 3 months into free agency, letting other chips fall into place to increase his financial value. Zimmerman and Fielder are both 27 years old, which further reiterates their differences in personality.
The Zimmerman-Fielder combination could make a dynamic duo at the corner infield spots while solidifying the third and fourth spots in the lineup for many years. However, the team would take a significant public relations hit if they were unable to extend Ryan Zimmerman past the 2013 season. Zimmerman is the Face of the Franchise for the Nats, and many fans have struggled to deal with the thought of losing the star third baseman. Some are concerned about his fragility in recent seasons. He missed 60 games in 2011 and has missed more than 140 games in the last four seasons.
However you feel, the Nationals have some interesting possibilities in the next few weeks before Spring Training beings. Stay tuned...