VIERA, Fla. - It’s less than an hour before Ryan Zimmerman’s self-imposed deadline to have a contract extension in place, and the Nationals third baseman sounds as if he’s prepared to wait right until the team’s first full-squad workout to see if a deal will be done.
Asked after he arrived in the clubhouse at Space Coast Stadium at 8:10 a.m. Saturday if he had an update, Zimmerman shrugged and said, “Right down to the last minute, I guess.”
Otherwise, it was a pretty normal morning for Zimmerman, who wants to Nationals to extend his current five-year, $45 million deal that runs through 2013 so he can finish his career in D.C. He munched on a breakfast of an omelet, buttered toast and a banana while chatting with teammates and clubhouse personnel before the Nationals held a 9 a.m. closed-door team meeting ahead of their first full-squad workout of the spring.
About 20 minutes before the team meeting, Zimmerman departed the clubhouse with his cell phone in hand, returning just before reporters were ushered out.
In the hallway headed to the clubhouse, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo was asked if there was a 9 a.m. update on the status of the talks with Zimmerman.
“No,” Rizzo said.
Update: The 10 a.m. deadline has passed with no indication of a deal getting hashed out. The Nationals met for about 30 minutes in their team meeting before heading to the practice fields. More updates as they become available.