Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo says he hopes to avoid an arbitration hearing with Jordan Zimmermann, the only remaining arbitration-eligible National yet to agree to a deal for his 2013 salary, and could be open to multi-year-deal talks with Ian Desmond and Zimmermann.
The Nationals reached deals with six of their seven arbitration-eligible players on Friday. All but Craig Stammen received one-year deals. Zimmermann was eligible for arbitration for the second time in his career this winter; he was awarded $2.3 million as a Super Two-eligible player following the 2011 season. Friday afternoon was the deadline for teams and arbitration-eligible players’ representatives to exchange salary figures for next season.
SFX, the agency which represents Zimmermann, is seeking $5.8 million for next season for the 27-year-old right-hander, but the Nationals have countered with $4.6 million. The two sides are talking, Rizzo said Saturday, with the Nationals hoping to avoid an arbitration hearing, a contentious process that most teams generally prefer to avoid by striking deals.
“We’ve proved in the past that we will (go to a hearing) if we have to,” said Rizzo, speaking after Saturdays’ New York Baseball Writers’ Association Dinner where Bryce Harper and Davey Johnson received their end-of-season awards. “We certainly don’t want to. He’s a long-term part of our organization and you hate to go to arbitration with him. But sometimes you have to if the numbers aren’t matched up and you can’t, and they see it one way and we see it the other, you have a third party break the tie.”