Third baseman working with Nationals to get deal sorted out

WASHINGTON — Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman is not upset that he hasn’t received a long-term deal from the Nationals. He realizes that baseball is a business and that it takes time to get a deal done."It's part of the game. It's a business. There are no hard feelings in any way," says Ryan Zimmerman. (AP)

Both parties have been working on a deal for the last two years but can’t agree on dollar figures. It now looks as though Zimmerman will be going to the arbitration table next month. He is asking for $3.9 million for this coming season, and Washington countered with $2.75 million.

“We are still a long way from arbitration. We have a couple of weeks to try and do something,” said Zimmerman during NatsFest on Sunday afternoon. “It’s part of the game. It’s a business. There are no hard feelings in any way. The relationship that we have had with the front office has been nothing but positive the whole time I’ve been here. That’s the way it’s always going to be.”

Zimmerman is positive that the Nationals will be better than the team that lost 102 games last year, thanks to the acquisitions of pitchers Daniel Cabrera and Scott Olsen, and outfielder Josh Willingham.

Zimmerman also feels that a healthy Nick Johnson would help the Nationals tremendously, though he is aware that the team is not counting on Johnson — who has played 38 games the last two years — this season.

But Zimmerman says, don’t count Johnson out.

“When Nick is healthy, he’s a pretty good player,” he said. “I think people forget how good he is because he has been hurt so much. Obviously, that’s a big question mark. If he can come back, he can hit .280 with 20 home runs, 80 RBIs, 100 walks and 100 runs. He is pretty good at first, too. People are kind of writing him off. Hopefully, that will give him some extra motivation to come back and have one of those years and win Comeback Player of the Year. It would be nice.”

Bill Ladson is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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