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Nats set to sign long-term deal with Zimmerman

Sunday - 2/26/2012, 11:09am  ET

AP: 2afa8dfe-c3db-4248-a41b-2b4b5b646f66
Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman fields a ground ball during the team's first official full squad workout at spring training baseball, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012, in Viera, Fla. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Craig Heist, wtop.com

VIERA, Fla. - Ryan Zimmerman and the Nationals have agreed to a long-term deal that would keep the 27-year old third baseman in a Nationals uniform quite possibly for the rest of his career. The Nationals will hold a press conference after their workout today to announce the deal.

According to published reports, it's a 6-year deal with an option for a seventh.

"We made considerable momentum and bridged the gaps that needed to be bridged," Zimmerman said Sunday morning. "They are still ironing out minor things but there is a real good shot with a wink and a smile it will done today."

Zimmerman had said all along he wanted the negotiations to be done and over with because he didn't think it was fair to the team or him to keep being asked about it as they start to prepare for their season.

"The most important thing was to get this done and sign it and be happy or not get it done and move on and play baseball."

They don't have to worry about that now. It will be a relief for Zimmerman but also his teammates in the clubhouse.

"It's just another indication the organization is moving in the right direction," said shortstop Ian Desmond. "I think they realize what they have, they've locked him up and he's here to stay. It's awesome."

Zimmerman is a career .288 hitter and when healthy is one of the best players in the game. What he means to the team inside the Nats clubhouse is invaluable according to Desmond.

"He is Mr. walk-off," said Desmond. "When the game is on the line, he's the one who comes up. He built this team. Without him, I don't know what this place would be like right now."

Where it is right now is heading in the right direction. With the acquisitions to the rotation of Gio Gonzalez and Edwin Jackson added to a now healthy Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmerman, the future is brighter than ever and it appears this organization is ready to take the next step.

"I think he and I are in the same boat," Desmond said. "We have seen the worst of the worst and we see the direction the team is going now and it's like, people don't want to leave. It's definitely going to be a fun place to play for the next six, seven or eight years, whatever his deal is worth."

Now, they won't have to worry about Zimmerman leaving for a long time.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)