Washington Nationals: No Trade Clause Shouldn't Hold Up Ryan Zimmerman Contract

Christopher Benvie@CSBenvie81Correspondent IIFebruary 24, 2012

VIERA, FL - FEBRUARY 25:  Ryan Zimmerman #11 of the Washington Nationals poses for a portrait during Spring Training Photo Day at Space Coast Stadium on February 25, 2011 in Viera, Florida.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

If you've been following the twitter reports involving the Ryan Zimmerman contract extension, your head is surely spinning. Mine is.

By all indications, the biggest hold-up for an extension being made is the fact that Zimmerman is looking for a full no-trade clause.  He has not been secret about his willingness to take a "hometown discount" because he likes playing in Washington for the Nationals.  

The least the Nats could do is return the favor.

At just 27 years old, Zimmerman is a premier third baseman.  Generally speaking, he is a dependable player who's played in over 150 games in four of his seven seasons and has never played (during a full season) less than 100 games.

When healthy, he's projected as a 25 home-run 95 RBI type of player, which is pretty stellar productivity out of your third base position.  A player like Alex Rodriguez will be hard-pressed to put up those type of numbers this season.

True, he missed 60 games with an abdominal tear in 2011; however, he still finished the season with a .288 batting average and 12 home runs with 49 RBI.  

According to Amanda Comack and Marc Lancaster of the Washington Times, a new deal for Zimmerman would likely be between five to eight years, costing anywhere from $110 to $160 million.

In my opinion, if the concern is Zimmerman's durability, sign him for a five-year deal with clauses built in for a mandatory minimum amount of games to appear in over that time frame or some type of performance-based incentive plan.  Either way, it would be silly to let Zimmerman hit free agency at 29.  By extending him now, the team buys out two years of arbitration eligibility and can be worry-free at the hot corner for the next several years.

In the meantime, all one can do is stay tuned in to twitter for any breaking news on this deal.  If nothing comes out today, Zimmerman has stated he will not negotiate into spring training as he does not want to be a distraction to the team.  While February 24th is a soft deadline, unless hurdles can be surmounted in the coming few hours, it is likely that this issue won't be wrapped up until next year.