VIERA, Fla. -- Negotiations between the Nationals and Ryan Zimmerman have progressed, and though a deal has not been completed yet, the two sides are moving closer to a long-term extension that would keep the third baseman in Washington for years to come, according to sources familiar with the discussions.
Brodie Van Wagenen, Zimmerman's agent, and Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo met this afternoon in Viera, though they left the meeting without a deal in place. Zimmerman has set a Saturday deadline to work something out; after that, he says he won't negotiate until after the season.
"As far as I know, there are no new negotiations going on, but Brodie had been down here," Zimmerman told Comcast SportsNet's Kelli Johnson this evening. "They have been talking a little bit. We still have a couple days, but like I've said, I'd like to play here the rest of my career. I've been here through the not-so-good times, and I want to be here through the good times, too."
The two parties have been talking on and off for about a year, and during that time countless permutations to a contract have been discussed. The talks have always been cordial, and there's always been an understanding that both sides wanted to get a deal done.
Rizzo said this evening he didn't anticipate any new developments and stood by what he said this morning: "We're working extremely hard at it, and both teams want something and are working at it. So yeah, I'm hopeful."
Van Wagenen declined to comment today on the state of negotiations.
Though they've made progress, there still remain hurdles to complete the deal, most notably language concerning a no-trade clause in the contract, according to sources. The Nationals have previously granted no-trade privileges to only one player: right fielder Jayson Werth, who last winter signed a seven-year, 126 million contract.
Entering his seventh full season with the club, Zimmerman is only three years away from receiving full no-trade protection as a player with at least 10 years of big-league service time, the last five with the same organization.
Zimmerman's five-year, 45 million contract runs through 2013, but there's been increased pressure to get an extension worked out now to prevent the 27-year-old from entering the final season of his deal and moving closer to free agency.