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Today's Numbers: $3.325, 44, 85

For sure, I'll post later in the day with more details about the Zimmerman signing. It will be interesting to hear about how this went down, and why the sides preferred, for now, a one-year deal instead of a long-term deal. Zimmerman's salary, $3.325 million, is a perfect split between the two arbitration numbers being offered. Obviously the signing doesn't erase the biggest Zimmerman question -- When does he, and when does he want to, sign a long-term deal? -- but it erases the possibility of a hearing, which had been scheduled for today.

It's still uncertain when Zimmerman will be back on the Viera ballfields. Originally, he was scheduled to fly on Saturday from Phoenix (site of the arbitration hearings) to Florida, and be ready to practice by Sunday. That timetable now could get pushed up a day, but as of this morning, Manager Manny Acta still wasn't certain.

* Two morning links worth checking out: Jonathan Newton's photo slideshow from the first full-squad workout, and Boz's column on Frowney.

* Weather-related complaints probably won't win me much sympathy from the North Face audience in D.C., but today's high is about 60.

* Speaking of high numbers... Sorry for not making a bigger deal of this yesterday.

Adam Dunn will wear No. 44 this year. And Lastings Milledge, formerly No. 44, is going to switch to -- get ready for it -- the big Ocho Cinco. Yes, 85. The name "Ocho Cinco" is already taped atop his locker at Space Coast Stadium. Milledge is telling everybody that No. 85 makes sense because of his birthyear (1985), but his new number also has a counterculture cool. Normally, when you wear No. 85, you're a bullpen catcher. Or you're about to get cut. Acta joked yesterday with Milledge, in fact, about his nominal chances to make the roster now that he'd backed himself into the No. 85 corner.

"But over the last few years," Acta conceded this morning, "some guys have taken care of that [high number stigma]. You had a guy in LA wearing No. 99 and he was on the team."

By Chico Harlan  |  February 20, 2009; 9:55 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The Strasburg Watch: 2009 Debut Is Today
Next: Nats, Zim Still Talking About Long-Term Deal


Just like with every schlep suburban shopping mall they've ever put up, the Lerners drive a tough short-term bargain. At the expense of long-term benefit. And every time you shop at White Flint or Reston Town Center, you support these low-lifes.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | February 20, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

The only numbers that count for players are the ones that follow the $ sign.

Posted by: cokedispatch | February 20, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

NEWSFLASH.....The only people who wanted a Zimmerman long term deal...were fans. In no way was he going to sign a longterm deal coming off of last season. He had no leverage. With the addition of AD and a healthy NJ in the lineup, he will have a bounce back year and with his improved numbers, the deal will get done this off season, count on it. Unless some unforseen injury derails this scenario, I'd say this is a lock.

Posted by: cokedispatch | February 20, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

I think cokedispatch is right on the money. Why sign a long term deal based on numbers that ere hamstrung by injury? The important thing is that a contract was signed rather than going to arbitration.

Man, can't we get back to arguing about how stupid/criminal Jim Bowden is or something, rather than trying to cast a pall on what is TOTALLY good news?

Posted by: AtomicOvermind | February 20, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Like I mentioned in the other thread, we can talk about JB and Stras and the fact we have THE #1 pick in the draft and by far the #1 player available (there isn't even a close 2nd in this draft) and still the odds of him being in a Nats uniform are 2:1 at best.

My feeling is that the Lerner's and JimBow will hardball the signing and may end up not getting it done as we have already witnessed.


Posted by: Dizzy_Dean | February 20, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Uh, yeah. No sympathy on the weather front seeing as how it's still trying to crack the 30 degree mark here. Watching that slideshow sure does make me happy, though.

Steinberg had your back on the Ocho Cinco thing. Thanks to all of you for the contributions this week. Speaking of the Bog, there's some new Ballester video up, gang.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 20, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

"the odds of him being in a Nats uniform are 2:1 at best.

My feeling is that the Lerner's and JimBow will hardball the signing and may end up not getting it done as we have already witnessed."

My feeling is that if you do much gambling yourself you've probably lost enough shirts to clothe the entire poverty-stricken island of the Dominican Republic. How many years has Bowden been a GM, 15 or more? And how many of those has he not signed his #1 pick? One. And as Bowden pointed out himself at FanFest, he has signed many Boras clients over the years, and has never once failed to sign a Boras client.

I would say all signs point to Strasburg signing with the Nats. Wanna bet, sucker?

Posted by: nunof1 | February 20, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

if i was zimmerman i would wait.

sometimes a choice is just a preference, not necessarily good vs bad.

he'll get paid either way.

Posted by: longterm | February 20, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Zim's contract should be the last official act of the Jim Bowden Error as the Nats' GM.

Posted by: leetee1955 | February 20, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Nunof1 - I agree that if they pick Strasburg at #1 he will get signed as I am sure Bowden will know before making the pick that Boras and the Nats are on the same page or else they will pick someone else.

Pick 9A will be more challenging!!!

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | February 20, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Just noticed (thanks to a Nats320 posting) that the team promotional schedule is out. Looks like they may trying to avoid the Curse of the Bobblehead by employing a Bobblehead To Be Named Later approach this year.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 20, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

See the team site for the promotional schedule. (Disclaimer: Any use of real NJ monikers in association with a curse is coincidental and purely unintentional. Any similarities to actual posters are also coincidental.)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 20, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

"Looks like they may trying to avoid the Curse of the Bobblehead by employing a Bobblehead To Be Named Later approach this year."

They could always do Walter Johnson, Josh Gibson and Frank Howard bobbleheads, as I saw someone suggested somewhere yesterday. They had a better year (2007) when they didn't give out player bobbleheads than they did (2008) when they did use players and both recipients were on the DL on their bobblehead nights.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 20, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

I like all of those ideas!

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 20, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

I think this suits everyone. Zimm may not evolve into the player we need him to be, in which case signing him to a long term contract will really hurt us. But he may, in which case our billionaire owners can pay and be hapy to pay.

Posted by: soundbloke | February 20, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Seriously though, have we fired Bowden yet? What's the deal with that?

Posted by: soundbloke | February 20, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Zimmerman must believe he will have an All Star type of year and raise his stock value.

Posted by: dmacman88 | February 20, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Thank God Zimmie got the deal. Even if it's only a year. I just can't see how ticking off your franchise player in an arbitration hearing can be good in the long term.

The only promotional thing I want is the refrigerator magnet schedule. Haven't had the guts to take last season's off yet.

Posted by: Juan-John | February 20, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse


Nice post. All you have to do is look at his last draft pick. What he did in 1993 has absolutely no bearing on what he can or can't do this year.

If want to look at an indicator, I look at the most recent action under the Lerner's ownership. He has a new ownership group that controls the dollars that he is able to commit. How many #1 draftees has he signed under the Lerners? Yeah, 15 sounds about right? Oh, wait a minute that's not right. Sorry.

You want to take better odds than 2:1 go ahead. I didn't say 100:1. According to your gambling sense, we can "put it in the books", right? 100% we sign him.

You are obvioiusly a true gambling man and I'm sure you have quit your job at the deep frier at McD's to begin your financial planning for all your winnings. Bad timing though, the minimum wage increase in July would have been helpful. Keep up the quality posts. That 2nd grade education your received is really paying off. Too bad they don't teach statistics until the 3rd grade.


Posted by: Dizzy_Dean | February 20, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Diz - The Nats will get the #1 done. Whether it is Strasburg or someone else, time will tell as many things can change between now and the Draft.

Posted by: dmacman88 | February 20, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

This makes me a sad bear x-(

"Their pitching staff is a bunch of [fifth starters]. Olsen is an innings guy, fourth starter, fifth starter. Cabrera has ability, but he's been going backward. Nobody's been able to figure him out yet. He's an Oliver Perez-y type because you never know what you'll get from start to start. At least Oliver's had some success. Dunn will put up the same numbers he usually does offensively but I want to see where they'll play him. They're talking about first base but there's nothing there with the glove. You can pencil them in for fifth. They should just try and avoid 100 losses."

Oh, and I'd put signing Strasburg at 1:1 roughly. If we draft him.

Posted by: RickFelt | February 20, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Check out the mock Draft board on here.

Interesting to watch Aaron Crow dropping slowly on their board to #13.

Pick #9A will be interesting if they go pitcher or position player.

Posted by: dmacman88 | February 20, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Natsfan1a1 - there is no such thing as a CTBNL (curse to be named later), even for my distant relative BTBNL. And Frowney is no longer a PTBNL. We kicked him out of the family.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | February 20, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Now ink him long term before he blows up. Baseball Prospectus says he, Dukes and Milledge are due this year in this article they did for ESPN Insider. (

In fact, the whole Insider lead is Nats-centric. (

You can sign up for a free trial if you're not a member...

Posted by: GoodThingHeSigned | February 20, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

"Knowing JB's history, there is still only a 50/50 chance of us signing him even when we do draft him.


Posted by: Dizzy_Dean | February 20, 2009 10:24 AM "
I'm not Joe Gambler, but aren't you saying 1:1?

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | February 20, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, that's good to know, jca. Now, if we can just get the BobLHead branch to weigh in.

Also, Chico has a new post up.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 20, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

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