UPDATE: Rizzo told Zuckerman that “enough progress has been made” to where there’s a belief that a deal will be finalized at some point Saturday night or early Sunday morning.
10:57 PM: Zimmerman said in an emailed statement late Saturday night that he’s “confident” about reaching an agreement with the Nationals. It’s not known whether that means the deadline has been extended.
1:16 PM: According to Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com, Ryan Zimmerman just said that negotiations with the Nationals are ongoing. His camp proposed a “creative” solution to help bridge the gap and Zimmerman expects resolution “one way or the other” by the end of today. He also indicated that a no-trade clause remains one of the sticking points.
12:05 PM: Ryan Zimmerman hoped to have a contract extension wrapped up with the Nationals before the team’s first full-squad workout at 10 a.m. this morning, but his self-imposed deadline has passed without news of a deal.
Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said “no,” in response to Pete Kerzel of MASNSports.com earlier this morning when asked if there was anything new to report in regards to an extension. Meanwhile, Zimmerman told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that he had heard no update.
Zimmerman is due to make $12 million this season and $14 million in 2013 before hitting free agency. He said yesterday that he is willing to sign a “team-friendly” deal, but reportedly wants a no-trade clause included in the contract.
Zimmerman has indicated that he would like to cut talks off today so that his situation doesn’t become a distraction, but Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com suggests that something could still get done in the near future, even if there’s no announcement of a deal today. As Zuckerman notes, the 27-year-old third baseman signed a five-year, $45 million extension in April of 2009 just weeks after saying he would hold off on talks until after the season.
The Cleveland Indians will unveil a Frank Robinson statue at Progressive Field on Saturday.
Robinson’s tenure in Cleveland was not long, but it was historic. On April 8, 1975, he became the first African-American manager in Major League history. He was a player-manager. One of the last ones, in fact. He spent two years in that role and then a third year — a partial year anyway — as a manager only. Robinson would go on to manage the Giants, Orioles and the Expos/Nationals, compiling a career record of 1065-1176 in 16 seasons. He is now a top MLB executive.
Robinson was, of course, a Hall of Fame player as well, lodging 21 seasons for the Reds, Orioles, Dodgers, Angels and Indians. He won two MVP awards and hit for the Triple Crown in 1966. Overall he hit 586 home runs – 10th all time – and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. For an inner-circle Hall of Famer with that kind of resume he is still, strangely enough, underrated. I guess that happens when your contemporaries are Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Mickey Mantle.
Anyway, congrats to Frank Robinson for yet another well-deserved honor in a career full of them.
Here’s an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal. It’s about some studies of hitters who use weighted bats or doughnuts on their bats in the on deck circle. Turns out that, contrary to conventional wisdom, using a weighted bat for practice hacks does not speed up one’s swing when one uses a naked bat in the batter’s box. In fact, it slows it down.
There are lots of caveats here. The sample size in the studies are small and they all involve college and high school players, not big leaguers. The results, however, are consistent with previous studies and they do make some intuitive sense. This is particularly the case with batting doughnuts, which add weight to a very concentrated portion of the bat, thereby changing the center of gravity and thus the swing mechanics of the hitter.
Whether this is applicable at large or to higher level hitters or not, I still find it kind of neat. I always like it when people scrutinize ingrained habits and ask whether or not that thing we’ve always done is, in fact, worth doing.