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Zimmerman and Bowden on the renewal

I talked to Ryan Zimmerman prior to today's game about his renewal, and obviously I'll get into it more in tomorrow's paper. But here's what you need to know.

Reaction to being renewed: "It doesn't matter to me. That's kind of the way it works. They have control of the player for the first three years, without the player having any type of leverage. Everyone before me has gone that way, and there's no reason to be upset."

Getting into arbitration, does it make you less likely to pursue a long-term deal?: "Not really. It just gives me a little bit more bargaining power, I guess you could say, because I'm a year closer. But I still don't have complete power because I'm a year or two away [from free agency]. Now that I'm there [almost eligible for arbitration], they obviously don't want to go to arbitraiton. We don't want to go to arbitration. It kind of makes things a little more realistic."

Would you like to get something done?: "I think so. I think if we get something done, it'd be good for me, it'd be good for the franchise and all that. It just shows that they're committed to keeping people here and doing the right stuff over the long term for the organization. They still have me three years through arbitration, too, so it's not like I'm going to go anywhere."

Do you feel comfortable and confident that your performance is going to go up?: "People are getting a lot of money through arbitration. There's no pressure to go out and hit 40 and drive in 150. Go out and have another solid year, and have three years of averaging 20-something and 100-something would go over pretty well."

Are you aware of the other contracts?: "I've had to be this offseason. You've got to be informed of wheter it's going to be a good deal or a bad deal or what you think you could get. Five, six, seven, eight, 10 years - however long it's going to be, that's a pretty important step in your career. You might as well be informed."

Other guys have been annoyed at their renewals. Are you?: "It's part of the game. Everyone goes through it. That's what the arbitration system is for. It takes into account those years, too. It pays you money back then. If you're a good player, you're going to make your money no matter what. There's no reason to get upset. My group of players isn't the first group that has to go through the system."

An area on the field that you'd like to improve on: "I want to do better defensively. I want to cut down on those stupid mistakes and just become an all-around better defensive third baseman. The ultimate goal is to win Gold Gloves and things like that. I think I have the talent to do it. But I have to make sure I - I don't want to say concentrate, because I concentrate every play, but I have to make a better effort to cut down on those little mistakes."

Do you ultimately feel like the franchise is pointed in the right direction?: "Yeah, I feel like we got better from last year, so if you get better every year, and give us after this year, we might have some money to go out and get a free agent kind of guy that can help us out. Then we'd have a group of core guys, and that's what it takes."

Jim Bowden on the deal:

"Number one, we're going to continue to negotiate a multi-year contract with Ryan. We have a tremendous working relationship on a contract with his agent, Brodie Van Wagenen and Casey Close, as well as a great working relationship with Ryan Zimmerman. Both sides clearly know where each other are. We're intellectually going to continue going forward to get a multi-year deal done, which at some point we're all really hopeful that that does take place at some point.

"But in the meantime, the rules are what they are, so we have renewed his contract at $465,000, and we'll continue to negotiate with him until the day comes that we get a multi-year contract with him. I said this when we drafted him and I'll say it now, we want him to start his career and finish his career as a National, and as I told him yesterday, I look forward to the day when No. 11 is hanging on the wall and he's the first Washington National be retired in 20 years."

Oh, and the wind is blowing out here at Osceola County Stadium. Home runs for Luis Jimenez (known around campa s "Little Papi") and Carlos Lee of Houston and Ronnie Belliard. Tim Redding has given up five runs in 2-2/3 innings to this point, and it's tied 5-5 in the bottom of the third.

By Barry Svrluga  |  March 8, 2008; 1:53 PM ET
 
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Comments

Watching on mlb.com, Redding was quite wild in his outing, but with the wind it was understandable. Belly HR was wind aided but the one Luis hit was crushed. Astro announcers said they thought he might have a spot on the roster, what with his bat should Young get traded.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | March 8, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Has Kearns hit anything hard yet????

Posted by: Section219 | March 8, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

As I recall...AK fanned his only time up so far. Milledge made nice catch in center. Zim had throwing error to 1st, though looked like foot was on bag and ump just probably missed call.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | March 8, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Milledge...2 sb so far, 5-5 mid 4th

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | March 8, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

game line thru 5...Nats..5/4/1...Stros..5/7/0

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | March 8, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Which reminds me, with all the wind-aided hits, how are the outfielders looking on fly balls?

And a reminder to get one hour less of whatever you had planned, tonight.

Posted by: Mr. In Btwn | March 8, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Kearns just lined hard single to left

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | March 8, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Belly singles up middle, driving Kearns home..6-5 w/2 outs

Posted by: s | March 8, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Belly scores on rbi double by Flores to right...7-5

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | March 8, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Flores scores on double to right, smashed by Willie Harris. 8-5

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | March 8, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Astro commentators warning all who are coming to washington dc this summer to go to the new park...take metro, do not even think about driving to game. word is out all over I'd say.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | March 8, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

earlier I said thru 5...not so. Now thru 4 1/2...Nats 8/8/1 Stros 5/7/0

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | March 8, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

NOW its thru 5...Hanrahan has looked good. Luis Jiminez made nice grab and toss to JH for 3rd out. 3 up and 3 down. remains 8-5 Nats.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | March 8, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Zimm his 2 run homer to right, following double by Milledge...10-5..no outs in 6th.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | March 8, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

10-5 Nats thru 5 1/2. Astro announcers talked about how the Lerners have deep pockets, pouring extra money into stadium and how they have turned Nats around as compared to how the team in orange and black is in a mess. Just makes me smile : < )

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | March 8, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

That warms my heart to hear, SC Nats Fan! :)

Posted by: JennX | March 8, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Astros TV ran a hi-lite reel of Zimm. I think they like him.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | March 8, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Strohs get 2 back on 3 doubles by Ausmus/Matsui/Loretta. All off Bell. 10-7 thru 6.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | March 8, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Keep up the updates, SC. Gameday is slo-o-ow.

Posted by: JennX | March 8, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Walks to Belly, Harris & Milledge lead to 2 runs when Zimm hits a seeing eye grounder between 3rd and short. Not sure how it made it thru, but it did. 2 outs...pitching change. 12-7

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | March 8, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Gervacio comes in and fans WMP on 3 pitches to end top 7th. 12-7 Nats.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | March 8, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Rivera now pitchinig w/Moeller catching for Nats.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | March 8, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Zimm out/Casto now at 3rd.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | March 8, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

What is the typical agent's cut when they work out a deal on behalf of a player like Zimm? Is it a percentage? What? Is it a fixed chunk? And when contracts have performance bonuses (like D. Young's does), does the agent get a cut of that too, if those bonuses get realized?

Posted by: i hate walks | March 8, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

windblown triple to right leads to no damage done as Rivera fans 2 to end inning. ramains 12-7 Nats

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | March 8, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

To disgress from the game action for a minute:

I'd be interested in how others felt, but I found today's article on Ian Desmond very hopeful. I had written him off as sort of a poor man's Rey Ordonez (if that's possible to be) - a SS who could make acrobatic plays, but was prone to errors and really couldn't hit. I'm embarrassed to say I hadn't focused on the fact that he was a HS draftee who was really being pushed to levels beyond what was reasonable. It appears from this article that he may be digging himself out finally, and that he may become a solid big leaguer eventually. Being in AA at the age of 21 remains a bit of a push, but if he can go there and put up similar offensive numbers to what he did at High A last year, you have to think that he might be ready to contribute in '09 or '10. For an organization that is REALLY weak in the middle infield, this is great news.

Someone asked earlier about Moeller and Cota. They are good catch/throw glove guys who cannot hit their collective hat size. If the Nats have to play them in other than an emergency call up role, they are really in trouble. It looks like we're headed toward that situation, or Flores being the back up and his development being stunted, or simply giving the job to Jesus with his probable .220 batting average and having a disgruntled LoDuca. None of those is a great option, but I guess I'd go with #1 and hope Estrada gets healthy quickly.

Posted by: #4 | March 8, 2008 3:41 PM | Report abuse

a quiet top 8th with only a Langerhans walk. 12-7

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | March 8, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

I really enjoyed the article on Desmond. I certainly hope he is able to dig himself out and help this team next year. Belly is around for 09 but Lopez and Guzman aren't. This team has some serious holes to fill at 2B/SS next year and it would be great to get at least one of those pieces from your own system.

Posted by: MKevin | March 8, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

#4-

The poor man's Rey Ordonez crack was funny.

Thanks for the details on our backup, stop-gap backstops (say that 3 times fast).

I really wish Redding had a better outing. I was rooting for him last spring, and he totally unraveled. Here he goes again today, putting his spring ERA at 7.50.

Posted by: Positively Half St. | March 8, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Schroeder now pitching.

Posted by: s | March 8, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Does anybody else sense the possibility of Dukes beating out WMP for the starting left fielder's job?

Posted by: Positively Half St. | March 8, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Thanks s.

Saul Rivera has been remarkably good for the Nats, and is having a good spring.

I hope Schroeder continues to succeed as well.

Matt Whitney has done little to stay as a Rule 5 guy. He hasn't managed a single hit yet.

Posted by: Positively Half St. | March 8, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Or beating out Kearns for RF?

Posted by: #4 | March 8, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

I don't see Dukes beating out either one out of Spring Training... but don't be surprised to see any one of the three get the quick hook if they have a slow April.

Posted by: MKevin | March 8, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Dukes should be the starting RF not kearns

Posted by: DJ 26 | March 8, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Gameday slowed down. What is happening?

Posted by: Positively Half St. | March 8, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Strohs get 1 back on double by Ausmus, followed by Sutton single. Desmond makes sparkling play on grounder up middle with on target throw to first to nip runner. He showed some leather/arm there. 12-8 thru 8.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | March 8, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

With runners on the corners...WMP meekly grounds out to end inning. 12-8 going to bottom 9. Desmond fanned for 2nd out and didn't look good doing it. But it is only 1 at bat, so don't judge that harshly. AA will hopefully be good for him. Sanchez on to pitch the 9th.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | March 8, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

This is (way) down the list of important roster issues, but ...

One thing every team needs on its National League bench is a guy who can come in and steal a base or lay down a bunt in the late innings - sort of a small ball utility player. Think So Taguchi. When managers and GMs talk about dysfunctional rosters, they are talking about a lack of these types of players. It's like not having a situational lefty in the pen. D'Angelo Jiminez filled that role last year, although not very well.

In looking at who the Nats have at camp this year, I don't see a guy who could fill role, except maybe Langerhans. It looks like their bench will be stronger in terms of being able to send guys up there who can drive in runs (DY, Dukes, Belliard), but I don't see someone like this. I suppose Lopez could be the guy, but I'm not sure how much interest he has filling that role. Any ideas?

Posted by: #4 | March 8, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

back to back doubles lead to a run...12-9 with no outs....hang on! runner goes to 3rd on throw home., scores on grounder to Desmond...1 out...hang on!

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | March 8, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Now 12-10

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | March 8, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

The Nats need to blitz more on 3rd down.

Posted by: #4 | March 8, 2008 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Kenny Lofton is still a FA.

Posted by: MKevin | March 8, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

It's over. Nats 12 Strohs 10. The wind was very tricky out there. Casto had a pop up that landed between the mound and first for a single in the top of the 9th and the outfielders were running all over the place today. That's ST baseball in florida.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | March 8, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

I suppose I shouldn't worry about what happens at this point, because our top line guys beat their top line guys. Still, I want them to win.

#4- Football references make me smile, since I still can't believe my Giants won the Super Bowl. Normally I would ask that we shelve football until August, but that gave me a chuckle, to boot.

Posted by: Positively Half St. | March 8, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

MKevin:

He'd be good, if that's the role he wants. I doubt though he'd be satisfied with the 100 ABs and the money that goes with it.

Posted by: #4 | March 8, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Final line: Nats 12/13/1 Strohs 10/15/0

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | March 8, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

The good news for Lofton, he just got his AARP card...so he can get sweet deals at the early bird buffets.

Posted by: LANats | March 8, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse

I write too slowly. Thanks SC Nats Fan.

ST doesn't matter, but a really poor showing last year led to our 9-25 start.

We are going to remember 9-25 well into our first playoff season. May that come soon.


Posted by: Positively Half St. | March 8, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse

I like the way you think positively...half st.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | March 8, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

I wasn't home during the game but, FWIW, the other day the game day feed would freeze up fairly often. Guess that they're still working out the kinks in ST, too.

Thanks for the info on Zimmerman, Barry. I love his attitude and I loved JimBo's comment about retiring #11.

Posted by: natsfan1a | March 8, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

That was a fun game to watch... but it is hard to know from watching it if the Nats were just lucky, or were they skillful hitting to right to take advantage of the wind... It was clear watching Zim's homer that he was trying to go that way (given that he fouled off two or three down the right field line).

It was hard to tell too much about the pitchers... but I don't think I ever saw our guys struggling, like the Astros guys were.

On a day when everyone was hitting, it was a little disappointing to see Lopez be so quiet... Perhaps that storyline is gelling, too...

Posted by: Wigi | March 8, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Hanrahan is going to make it very tough for the Nats to sneak him through waivers.

Posted by: ronin | March 8, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

AK and WMP going a collective 1 for 10 is pretty disapointing.

Posted by: MKevin | March 8, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Positively Half Street - Many congrats. Well deserved - great coaching, big time plays. We can't win'em all.

The Desmond article was terrific. If he can start the year at Harrisburg, maintain the OBP from August '07 with good defense, he does look like part of the answer in 09 /10. In addition to the tough offensive numbers when he was rushed, I think another reason he may have gotten a bit overlooked is that he was a holdover from the '05 system, which was supposed to be bare. I know I was a skeptic when people mentioned him in "line ups of the future" last fall. I here crow tastes fine with a balsamic glaze. sounds like I've got a double portion coming my way.

Posted by: PTBNL (Part-time Belichick / NE Lad) | March 8, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

"One thing every team needs on its National League bench is a guy who can come in and steal a base or lay down a bunt in the late innings - sort of a small ball utility player."

Either WMP, Milledge or Dukes is likely to be available on the bench in the late innings. The ability of one of them to come in and hit for extra bases would pretty much trump the lack of someone to lay down a bunt or steal a base. If Tom Boswell was here he'd probably channel Earl Weaver and say a three-run homer beats small ball any day of the week.

Posted by: Section 419+1 | March 8, 2008 5:02 PM | Report abuse

That's just such a _strange_ image -- I'm picturing one hat on both of them, heads together, like some Bizarro World version of a sack race ...
**************
They are good catch/throw glove guys who cannot hit their collective hat size.

Posted by: #4 | March 8, 2008 03:41 PM

Posted by: MIB | March 8, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Multiple Choice:

I would rather have Ryan Church than...

A) Wily Mo Pena
2) Lastings Millege
iii) Austin Kearns
four) Elijah Dukes
e) . . . that's what I thought.

Posted by: Hot Stove Poll | March 8, 2008 5:21 PM | Report abuse

And here I thought it was the hat that they passed...

---

They are good catch/throw glove guys who cannot hit their collective hat size.

Posted by: natsfan1a | March 8, 2008 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Where do we think Luis Jiminez is going to end up? Columbus?

There's no room for him on the big league club, but he's an intriguing guy with a pretty good track record. I hope he gets at-bats wherever he ends up for us.

Posted by: Tank | March 8, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

New post.

Posted by: natsfan1a | March 8, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

'E'

The speedy utility guy this year will either be Mackowiak or Harris. I can't see both on the roster.

Posted by: Andrew Stebbins | March 8, 2008 5:51 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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