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Bowden Addresses Zimmerman's Contract

Under Stan Kasten's presidency, the National have maintained a fairly consistent policy of silence about contract negotiations, but GM Jim Bowden just spoke at length about the recent talks with agent Brodie Van Wagenen about a long-term extension for third baseman Ryan Zimmerman -- talks which, as we wrote a couple of days ago, did not produce much progress.

"We've made it clear to [Zimmerman and Van Wagenen] that if Ryan is willing to sign a contract that is simlar to what all the other good young players are signing for -- if he's willing to do a market signing, we are prepared to do that with him. We're not going set all new markets with him. We're not going to change the pay scale of Major League Baseball for one player. But there are so many signings that are all in the same range, and our organization is prepared to do that. And we have communicated that to Brodie. At this point, we're not close. But there's always going to be time, and the other thing we all know is we have control of the player for four years no matter what. So we have a four-year security blanket with him."

What prompted Bowden to break Kasten's code of silence? Probably a handful of recent comments made by Van Wagenen, in which he sounded discouraged about the talks, and a growing outcry from fans (such as you all -- and don't think for a moment that the team is not reading this stuff) about why the Nationals have been unable to lock Zimmerman up.

Also: Bowden addressed Bret Boone's promotion to big league camp. "We didn't think he'd be this far advanced," Bowden said. "We have a small window in which to make a decision. It's far more valuable for us to have him here."

By Dave Sheinin  |  February 23, 2008; 11:54 AM ET
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