Will the Nationals give Ryan Zimmerman a $150 million deal?


Ryan Zimmerman is signed through 2013, so there’s no huge rush to work on an extension, but Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post writes that his “representative has remained in constant dialogue with the Nationals for the past year.”

Missing two months with a torn abdominal muscle kept talks from picking up, but Zimmerman has hit .363 with a .933 OPS in his last 35 games and has made it clear that he wants to remain in Washington well beyond 2013.

“I have faith that we’ll be able to do something here,” Zimmerman told Kilgore. “I think we’ve had a really good relationship the whole time. I feel like the front-office people enjoy having me here, and I want to be here. I love the fans, I love everyone here. It’s one of those things that I think will work out in the end.”

Zimmerman’s current deal is for $45 million over five seasons and sets him up to hit the open market at age 29, so the next contract will be a huge one whether it comes from the Nationals or another team. Or as Zimmerman put it: “You only get one shot to try to get a big deal; if you’re lucky enough to get one shot, that’s the time you have to get it. This one, it’ll have to be longer than the one I signed before.”

Kilgore points to Troy Tulowitzki’s 10-year, $158 million extension with the Rockies and Ryan Braun’s 10-year, $146 million extension with the Brewers as possible comps for Zimmerman, who’s closer to free agency than they were at the time of those deals. He’s not quite at their levels in terms of being a household name, but despite missing a big chunk of this season Zimmerman ranks 11th among all position players in Wins Above Replacement since the beginning of 2009, sandwiched between Miguel Cabrera and Dustin Pedroia (and slightly ahead of Braun).

Blue Jays sign Danny Espinosa to minors deal

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Free agent middle infielder Danny Espinosa signed a minor-league deal with the Blue Jays, the team announced Saturday. The deal includes an invite to spring training, where Espinosa is scheduled for his first split-squad game against the Orioles this afternoon.

Espinosa, 30, was inked to another minor-league deal with the Yankees in January. The veteran infielder was competing for an infield job until the team picked up second baseman Neil Walker on a one-year, $4 million deal last Monday. Prior to his release, he slashed .160/.276/.320 with one home run through his first 12 games with the Yankees this spring. He didn’t fare much better in the majors last year, either, batting a cumulative .173/.245/.278 with six home runs and a .523 OPS in 295 PA for the Mariners and Rays.

Blue Jays starting shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is still dealing with a bone spur in his heel and has officially been ruled out for Opening Day, which could clear a path for Espinosa to claim a starting role in Toronto. Of course, he won’t be the only candidate under consideration — Yangervis Solarte and Aledmys Diaz are still in the mix as well, though no final decision appears to be made just yet.