Meet baseball's newest 100 million man

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Meet baseball's newest 100 million man

From Comcast SportsNet
Ever since he became the Washington Nationals' very first draft pick, Ryan Zimmerman wanted to stay with the club for the long haul. Now he'll get that wish. The Nationals took what they hope is another step toward consistent contention by locking up their third baseman -- and the guy many still call the face of the franchise -- through 2019, adding six years to Zimmerman's existing contract in a deal announced Sunday. The deal includes a full no-trade clause. The extra six seasons are worth 100 million, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no financial terms were revealed publicly. "It's nice that it's done," Zimmerman said at a news conference at the club's spring training stadium in Viera, Fla. "It's where I want to be. It's where I've always wanted to be." He already was signed for 2012 and 2013, with 26 million remaining on the five-year, 45 million contract he got at the start of the 2009 season. He's now guaranteed 126 million over the next eight seasons, and there is a club option for 2020. "I love pressure. I don't think people get these kinds of contracts that don't want to be in pressure situations. Ever since I've been here, I've wanted to be the guy that's up last in the ninth inning," Zimmerman said. "I've wanted to be the guy that everyone looks to. I've wanted to be the so-called leader. I relish being that guy. I love it. I wouldn't have it any other way." He grew up not from the nation's capital in Virginia Beach, Va., and his parents still live there. The two sides talked late into the night Saturday, making enough progress for the 27-year-old Zimmerman to extend a self-imposed deadline that coincided with that day's start of official full-squad workouts. He wanted to get a deal completed now or postpone talks until after the season so his contract situation wouldn't be a distraction in the clubhouse for the Nationals, who are hoping to finally be competitive in the NL East. Washington finished third in the division in 2011, the franchise's best showing since moving from Montreal. Zimmerman was the team's first draft pick after the Expos became the Nationals before the 2005 season -- he was taken No. 4 overall that year after playing college baseball at Virginia -- and he quickly emerged as Washington's best player. He's been an NL All-Star, and also collected Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards. Last season, Zimmerman was limited by injuries to 395 at-bats over 101 games. He hit .289 with 12 homers, 21 doubles and 49 RBIs. For his career, Zimmerman has a .288 batting average, 128 homers, 214 doubles, 498 RBIs, a .355 on-base percentage and .479 slugging percentage, and he's considered one of the top defensive third basemen in the majors. He's also emerged as one of the leaders of the team in the clubhouse. "In my opinion, it's just another indication the organization is moving in the right direction," shortstop Ian Desmond said. "To lock up a guy and show loyalty to your franchise player ... and to see Zim' be happy at home, and not to have to worry about that any more, it's going to be nice. I'm happy for him. We definitely need him." More than a dozen Nationals teammates showed up for Sunday's news conference. "It's great for them to come, obviously, to show their support. That's one of the reasons why I want to stay here," Zimmerman said. "I want to be with these guys for a long time." The average annual value of Zimmerman's extension is 16.7 million; the average for the eight years works out to 15.75 million. Zimmerman is one of six major leaguers signed through at least 2019, joining Albert Pujols of the Angels, Cecil Fielder of the Tigers, Troy Tulowitzki of the Rockies, Ryan Braun of the Brewers and Matt Kemp of the Dodgers. When Stan Kasten was team president, the Nationals had a policy against giving players no-trade clauses. But they added such a clause when they signed outfielder Jayson Werth to a 126 million, seven-year contract as a free agent last offseason. And now they've done it for Zimmerman. "I'd rather not give a no-trade than give a no-trade because it gives me more flexibility. But for players like this, if it's give a no-trade or not have the player, that's a pretty easy decision," general manager Mike Rizzo said. Rizzo said the no-trade clause does not cover the 2012 and 2013 seasons, only the additional six years. Still, he said he won't trade Zimmerman. "It comes into play when you have trust and honesty between both parties. We didn't go through this exercise and sign Zim' to a six-year (deal), plus an option year, to trade him in the next two years," Rizzo said. "With Mike Rizzo as the GM of the Nationals, he will not be traded in the next two years." Notes: The Nationals had their first live batting practice session Sunday with Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez throwing. But the anticipated matchup of Strasburg vs. Bryce Harper never took place. Harper hit against Nationals closer Drew Storen and later said he was disappointed he didn't get to bat against Strasburg. "Absolutely. I wanted to face him so bad," Harper said. "I wanted to see what he was about. If he made me look stupid, I don't even care."

Draper: Better financial decision for Durant to stay in OKC one more year

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Draper: Better financial decision for Durant to stay in OKC one more year

A. Sherrod Blakely and Kyle Draper discuss the chances the Boston Celtics land Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler or DeMarcus Cousins.

Red Sox will be in attendance for Lincecum showcase

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Red Sox will be in attendance for Lincecum showcase

CHICAGO -- Along with 20 or so other teams, the Red Sox will be in attendance Friday when former San Francisco Giants righthander Tim Lincecum throws in Scottsdale, Az. in a showcase for scouts and talent evaluators.

Indications are, however, that the Sox are merely doing their due diligence in attending the workout. It's unclear how highly they regard the 31-year-old pitcher, or what role they would envision for him.

Lincecum was a free agent last winter, but attracted little attention and spent most of the winter and early spring refining his mechanics, gearing toward this week's showcase.

Lincecum was the National League Cy Young Award winner in 2008 and 2009 and an All-Star in 2010 and 2011, but from 2012 through last year, his performance dipped considerably, with a won-loss record of 39-42 and an ERA of 4.68.

He pitched out of the bullpen some in 2014 and last season was limited to just 15 starts.

The Sox are waiting on Eduardo Rodriguez and Joe Kelly to return from injuries and have Henry Owens in the rotation currently. Additionally, Brian Johnson and Roenis Elias are depth options in Pawtucket.

 

Dombrowski: Sandoval 'committed to getting ready' for 2017 after successful surgery

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Dombrowski: Sandoval 'committed to getting ready' for 2017 after successful surgery

CHICAGO -- Pablo Sandoval's second season with the Red Sox is officially over, almost before it began.

Sandoval, who appeared in just three games in April after losing the starting third baseman's job to Travis Shaw in spring training, underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder Tuesday and won't return until 2017.

"Dr. (James) Andrews (who performed the procedure) said the surgery went well,'' said Dave Dombrowski, "as well as can be expected. I talked to Pablo myself already today, talked to his representative Rick Thurman. Pablo's happy that they've been able to fix the problem and committed to getting ready for next year.''

Andrews told Dombrowski that in a best-case scenario with "everything going perfectly right, maybe he could be ready (to play) in six months,'' taking his recovery into November.

Sandoval was bothered in the past by labrum issues, and they appear to have worsened over time, though no one with the Red Sox can pinpoint an incident or specific time when Sandoval aggravated the condition further.

"It happens,'' said Dombrowski. "I don't really know what happened that one day he woke up and couldn't lift up his shoulder. But that was really the first indication that we had that he was hurting.''

"Even after the onset of the injury,'' said John Farrell, "Pablo and I had some conversations daily. . . There was a play in Toronto (in the first week of the season) when he dove to the (foul) line and saved a run. Whether the impact there moved along the injury, that's a possibility. Even in conversations with him, there was not one event that he could recall.''

Dombrowski said Sandoval will return to Boston soon, where his girlfriend is due to deliver a baby in the next few weeks. After that, Sandoval will return to Florida, though it's undecided whether he will be based in Miami, where he lives in the off-season, or at the Red Sox spring training facility in Fort Myers.

Dombrowski said that while an exact rehab plan has yet to be put together, the Red Sox "will have our eyes on him on a continual basis. But I can't say that someone (from the organization) will be there all the time, but quite regularly.''

Asked if the time off might enable Sandoval to address some conditioning issues, Dombrowski said: "He already has. I'm not going to give you specific (numbers), but he already has dropped weight during the season, once he's been under our care on a daily basis. I think he's committed to doing that, we're committed to doing that. We'll have a very thorough program to address a lot of different issues between now and next season.''

Left unanswered is how Sandoval can contribute to the Red Sox in the three remaining years left on his five-year, $95 million deal.

"Everybody keeps asking me about 2017,'' said Dombrowski. '' 'What are you going to do when David retires?' My response is, let's go through 2016 and then we'll worry about that in the winter time.''