WASHINGTON – The clock is ticking on efforts to sign pitcher Jordan Zimmermann and shortstop Ian Desmond to contract extensions.
After his Spring Training start today, Zimmermann told reporters contract negotiations are “not looking good,” and reiterated he was not interested in negotiating after Opening Day, now just 10 days away:
Jordan Zimmermann says "it's not looking good" to get a contract done before the season. He won't talk about it after opening day. #Nats— Chris Johnson (@980cj) March 27, 2015
General manager Mike Rizzo gave a slightly rosier assessment earlier today on MLB Network Radio with Jim Bowden:
“I don’t know. We’re always in conversations. Desi and I, and Zim and I have a great relationship. We talk on a daily basis, but sometimes it comes down to a business decision and it’s not for a lack of both sides trying.”
Desmond reportedly turned down a contract extension in excess of $90 million before last season, and it is unclear where negotiations have gone since then.
Desmond addressed his status earlier in Spring Training, telling reporters that his eye was on free agency past Opening Day.
“I owe it to everybody here to give my 100 percent concentration and that’s what I’m going to do,” he said. “All the other stuff is really not going to be talked about. It’s time to go.”
Rizzo said that the door remains open to both All-Stars, but if a deal is not secured by Opening Day, Nationals management seem content to let things play out after the season.
“We both have tried several times and we haven’t come up with a deal yet, I’m not saying that it won’t happen, but it’s something that we haven’t taken our minds off it, but it’s something that is secondary both in the players’ minds and the front office’s minds, that we’re concentrating on playing baseball and Opening Day and so are they.”
[Thanks to @federalbaseball]