MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Nationals working to sign Zimmermann long term

Nationals working to sign Zimmermann long term

SAN DIEGO -- A baseball source said there is nothing imminent as far as the Nationals trying to trade any of their players who are eligible for free agency after the 2015 season, a group which includes right-hander Jordan Zimmermann and shortstop Ian Desmond. The Nationals are willing to listen to trade offers on any of their players, but that doesn't mean they are going to make a move.

In fact, the same source said that the Nationals are still trying to sign Zimmermann long term. One could argue that Zimmermann is the ace of the pitching staff. In the last three years, he has posted 45 wins, a 2.96 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP.

And that's before you mention the fact that he pitched the team's first no-hitter and has held his own in the postseason.

Souza saves Zimmermann's no-no

How much Zimmermann is looking for is not known. He has often said that he is not going to take a team discount. Before this past season, Reds right-hander Homer Bailey received a six-year, $105 million contract. Zimmermann has put up better numbers than Bailey. It was reported that the Nationals offered five years at 17 million per year, but another source said the offer was much lower.

Besides Zimmermann and Desmond, right-hander Doug Fister, center fielder Denard Span and reliever Tyler Clippard could walk after the 2015 season. Of the players mentioned, Clippard is most likely to be traded, but the Nationals are not in a rush to move him. Clippard, who is in his last year of arbitration, will get a significant raise. He made $5.8 million this past season.

On paper, the Nationals are a team that doesn't have to make many changes. They are still good enough to win the National League East in 2015. They are looking for a second baseman, need another reliever after the departure of Rafael Soriano and need to improve their bench.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.