Ryan Zimmerman and Nationals still talking contract extension

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Throughout last season there were various reports about Ryan Zimmerman and the Nationals having contract extension discussions and Bill Ladson of MLB.com reports that the two sides are still talking about a long-term deal.

Zimmerman has two years and $26 million remaining on his current five-year, $45 million contract, so there’s no huge rush for the Nationals to get something done, but they just gave Gio Gonzalez a five-year, $42 million extension despite already having him under control through 2015 and Zimmerman has repeatedly said he wants to play his entire career in Washington.

Of course, Zimmerman also missed 61 games last season with an abdominal tear and hit a good but not great .289 with a .798 OPS when healthy enough to play. When healthy Zimmerman is an excellent all-around player and one of the top handful of third basemen in baseball at age 27, so it would presumably take a deal in excess of $100 million to keep him around past 2013. And knowing agents, he’ll probably ask for more than the $126 million Jayson Werth got from the Nationals last winter.

Cubs fire pitching coach Chris Bosio

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In something of a surprising move, the Chicago Cubs fired their pitching coach, Chris Bosio on Saturday. Bosio had held the job since the 2011-12 offseason.

The Cubs made the NLCS this year, but were nowhere as near the formidable as their 2016 World Series champion iteration. While there were several reasons for that, one was that the pitching staff, which featured multiple, better-than-expected performances in 2016, but took a step back in 2017. Some of that was personnel — Joe Maddon did not have Aroldis Chapman to call on in the postseason like he did last year — and a lot of that was mere regression from veterans like Jon Lester and John Lackey. A lot of it had to do with a much higher walk rate this year than in the past.

Still, there was no chatter during the season or at the time of the Cubs’ playoff exit the other day that Bosio might be a fall guy. The Chicago Tribune reports that it was Joe Maddon’s call and that he had grown displeased with Bosio. The Tribune report suggests that Cubs pitchers will be displeased with the move as they were devoted to Bosio. Coaches, of course, come and go, so I suspect they’ll get over it.

Whatever the case, Bosio likely won’t say unemployed for long. He is widely credited with helping Jake Arrieta transform from a project to an ace and for the considerable and the somewhat unexpectedly successful development of Kyle Hendricks. The Tribune suggests that he’d be a good fit in Minnesota, where his former teammate Paul Molitor is in search of a new pitching coach.

There are several intriguing coaches available at the moment, most notably Mike Maddux, who has been the Nationals pitching coach but whose status is now in flux given the firing of Dusty Baker. Maddux’s brother Greg, of course, is a spring training pitching instructor for the Cubs. The Tribune adds that Maddon may look to his old Tampa Bay Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey or, possibly, even recently fired Red Sox manager John Farrell, who made his bones as a pitching coach.