The Zimmerman Deal, In Detail
I'm saving some of the behind-the-scenes negotiating stuff for a print (and Web) article, but here's a sketch of the basics from Ryan Zimmerman's five-year, $45 million contract, officially announced today.
* Zimmerman's contract begins this year, allowing him to become a free agent after the 2013 season. At that point, he'll be 29.
* Zimmerman's contract includes no club options; this was one of the final hold-ups in the deal. All along, the Nationals wanted an option year. Zimmerman did not.
* The deal was actually hammered out in the final minutes before Opening Day. Zimmerman was still talking to his agent, Brodie Van Wagenen, about 20 minutes before the first pitch against the Marlins in Florida.
* Here's the year-by-year...
2009: $3.325 million, plus $175,000 in plate appearance incentives, plus a $500,000 signing bonus
2010: $6.25 million
2011: $8.925 million
2012: $12 million
2013: $14 million
Also included are bonuses for all-star appearances and other rewards. The contract also includes tie-ins for annual charity events and community appearances.
* To start the news conference at Nationals Park this afternoon, Zimmerman sat down in between principal owner Mark Lerner and president Stan Kasten. Each spoke for a few minutes, mostly talking about the significance of the day, the commitment of the franchise, etc.
Some assorted quotes:
From Kasten: "I will say this about the negotiations. They didn't end up where they started. There were about 1,000 permutations that crossed the table over the last three years, and this was the final combination that did it. There wasn't any magic done ... in fact, the very last permutation happened quite at the end. A day before we finally agreed I couldn't have told you for sure that's what the final result would have been."
From Zimmerman: "I mean, I've been convinced that they are on the right path for a long time. This is who drafted me, this is where I want to play. It's obviously a great city for me, growing up close to here, going to school close to here. I think it would be pretty cool to get drafted by a team and play there your whole career. You don't see that throughout people's careers much anymore. ... I have faith in [the] Lerners and the ownership that they're going to continue to bring people in and get this team to where it needs to be. I think this offseason was a huge step, and they kind of went out and showed what they're willing to do. I think that gave a lot of people confidence."
From Van Wagenen: "Well, I think the injury last year definitely complicated negotiations, because both sides, then, were left to look at not only who he is now, but also who he can be over the course of the years forward. None of us have a crystal ball, but the one thing I can say is that this contract reflects the Nationals' and the Lerners' belief in Ryan as a player today, but also what they think he can be over the next five years."
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