It has become almost commonplace for major league teams to lock up talented, cost-controlled pitchers through their arbitration years. And the Nationals are apparently thinking about getting in on the act.
Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports that the Nats “have dabbled in preliminary conversations” with the representatives for right-hander Jordan Zimmermann. Nothing is close yet, but the sides could look to strike an agreement by next winter.
Zimmermann, who qualified as a Super Two and thus gained four years of arbitration eligibility, is making $2.3 million this season. The 25-year-old registered a 3.18 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 124/31 K/BB ratio across 161 1/3 innings in 2011 and is off to a superb start in 2012.
The Giants gave 22-year-old left-hander Madison Bumgarner a five-year, $35 million extension last week.
Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.
Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.
The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.
If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.