Zimmermann, Nats making headway on contract

VIERA, Fla. -- Jordan Zimmermann, the last remaining Nationals player eligible for arbitration, said Monday that the two sides are continuing to work toward a deal in advance of his Feb. 19 hearing date.

Zimmermann assured reporters at the Nats' Spring Training complex that he and the club were seeking a one-year deal, rather than anything long term.

"We've got a few things to work out yet," Zimmermann said. "Nothing long term -- I'll tell you that."

The 26-year-old set career highs in wins (12), ERA (2.94) and innings (195 2/3) last season as a formidable No. 3 in Washington's accomplished rotation. He won nine of his last 11 decisions in 2012, winning six straight from June 27-Aug. 9 and three in a row to end the year.

The right-hander filed for arbitration at $5.8 million, while the Nationals want to pay him $4.6 million. He had said previously that he would be open to a multiyear contract if the team offered "the right deal."

Zimmermann also said the market for other right-handers is only a small factor in what has gone into his thought process.

"A little bit has to do with that," Zimmermann said. "But at the end of the day, it's something we feel is right for myself and my agent, and something that's good for us."