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Ryan Zimmerman won’t negotiate extension with Nationals after spring training begins

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Ryan Zimmerman and the Nationals have been engaged in some level of long-term contract talks for going on a year now, but yesterday the third baseman told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that he’ll cut off negotiations once spring training starts:

I think it’s unfair to my teammates for that to garner any attention during the season. Once spring training comes, it’s time for us to play baseball. If there’s articles, or if there’s people asking me everyday how much money I want to make, that’s rather unfair to the other guys around me who are working just as hard to achieve that goal of winning. It’s got to get done by spring training.

All of that is nice, and as an added bonus setting a deadline also won’t hurt Zimmerman’s leverage.

That gives the Nationals less than a month to get something done–and they can use the money earmarked for Prince Fielder–although Zimmerman is under team control for 2012 and 2013 at a total of $27 million. He’s also said repeatedly that he wants to play his entire career in Washington, adding that he’s “willing to try and be creative” with a deal. Whatever that means.

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.

Royals sign Danny Duffy to a five-year, $65 million contract extension

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 02:  Starting pitcher Danny Duffy #41 of the Kansas City Royals pitches during the game against the Detroit Tigers at Kauffman Stadium on September 2, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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The Kansas City Royals have signed starter Danny Duffy to a five-year, $65 million contract extension.

Duffy was arbitration eligible this offseason and would’ve been a free agent next winter if he hadn’t signed the deal. Given his stuff he might’ve made a mint as a free agent, but he’s also been inconsistent at times and any pitcher is an injury away from losing a payday, making this a nice, lucrative bet for the lefty.

Duffy, 28, posted a 3.51 ERA and a 188/42 K/BB ratio across 179.2 innings in 2016.