A Washington Nationals Blog

Monday, February 25, 2008

The sweet smell of baseball in the morning

The first game is Spring is only 2 days away. That means baseball fans can stop hearing about Mike Bacsik's bullpen sessions and whichever Boone is important at the time and start actually hearing about GAMES. And even more importantly than the begin of play, the 2/29 game will be the first carried on 3WT this season. The station will carry 10 games this spring before beginning the usual full season. Our good friends at MASN don't have any information posted, which I assume means no games will be broadcast. I would have confirmed that, but when I get on MASNsports.com and try to get contact information, that particular page is always down. Helpful.

But I think that we will move onto the next spot in the quick trip around the field, which I hope to finish by the first game of the season. So, 3rd base. This is a no-brainer, Zimmerman is the man at the Hot Corner until at least 2012. That is when he gets to try free agency if the Nats haven't come to an agreement with him for a longer deal. And speaking of that deal, much was made of the conversations being had between Zimm's agent and Bowden. Covered by Ladson, and the Post.

For those that don't like to read, the Nats seem to be offering Tulowitski or McCann dollars, which is 6 years, $30 million or so. Ryan (by way of his agent) is looking for 6 years $55 million. So, they are a little ways apart on this deal. Now, I would love to see Zimm sign an Ovechkin-esqe deal for like 15 years and be done with it. But I can see both sides. Zimmerman is not, at least offensively, David Wright, who got more like $55 million. But it is also arguable that his is worth more to the Nats than McCann is as a player. That means that this next season is important for the relationship in a number of ways. If Ryan has a stellar year and heads into arbitration next season, the Nats could stand to get screwed and might sour the relationship with the 'face of the franchise'. Not really what we are looking for. It would result in a huge raise in the price of Zimmerman and could put him out of reach. If he puts up bad numbers, then it means he is more likely to sign a long-term deal rather than risk a smaller raise in arbitration.

But either way, don't expect to see this taken care of in the next couple weeks or months. In fact I doubt there is a contract before 2010, and certainly not before 2009.

From a play perspective, Zimmerman needs to show his talent offensively as a player. There have been a lot of statements made about 100+ RBIs, 30 HRs, and a solid BA. I don't know if he will make these numbers or not, and I'm not a big enough stats geek to crunch the numbers and then lie to you about it. But I do know that if he puts up the same numbers as last season, its not going to result in the payday that he wants or presumably deserves. That shouldn't be a worry though. Zimmerman is likely to put up bigger numbers with the offensive up-tick in the lineup that has been provided by the outfield acquisitions and the upgrades at catcher. That help in the lineup should mean that Zimmerman sees a modest bump in his numbers regardless of personal improvements, so it means that we should, in all likelihood, expect and get big things at the plate from #11.

Tomorrow we'll hear about catchers and why I hate Paul Lo Duca. Then, last but not least, the juvenile penal system that is the Washington Nationals outfield, with officer Kearns excepted.

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