Nationals, Zimmerman still talking contract extension

The Nationals are still trying to reach an agreement with third baseman Ryan Zimmerman on a contract extension. Zimmerman had a self imposed deadline of 10:00 a.m. ET on Saturday to get a deal done.

However, the team now has until the end of the day to get a deal done with Zimmerman, who hinted once again that he wants a no-trade clause in his contract. Zimmerman has two years left on his current contract.

“We’ve gone back and we’ve given them one other creative solution to bridge this gap,” Zimmerman said. “Today is the day, Saturday. It’s either going to get done or it’s not going to get done. Both sides are working to try to get over the last … couple of hurdles. We are both trying to be creative. It will be either yes or no, today. We’ll have closure either way.

“It’s something to ensure me that I will be here because that’s the reason I’m signing the deal. That’s basically the only thing left.”

Zimmerman said he doesn’t want to talk about his contract after Saturday because he doesn’t want to become a distraction to the team.

“Like I said all along, we can concentrate on baseball and not have you guys [the media] worry about it anymore and — more importantly – my teammates and myself,” Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman’s agent, Brodie Van Wagenen, was seen talking to general manager Mike Rizzo at the Nationals’ Spring Training complex on Wednesday. The two sides also talked Thursday and Friday without coming close to a deal.

Zimmerman is coming off an injury-plagued 2011 season in which he hit .289 with 12 home runs and 49 RBIs across 101 games. He missed significant time because of an abdominal injury.

Van Wagenen and the Nationals have been in serious discussions about an extension for Zimmerman since the Winter Meetings last December.

“We are still working toward an agreement,” Rizzo said. “We don’t have an agreement at this time. We’ve come a long way and bridged a big gap from the beginning [of the negotiations] to where we are currently, but we are not there yet. This is a very complicated, lucrative contract that we are discussing. We are not quite at the finish line yet. I’m still hopeful that we could come to an agreement, but we are not there yet.”

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