Ryan Zimmerman

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

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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).

Report: Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on Sonny Gray

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images
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The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.

Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.

Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.