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."
Freelance reporter Carl Kotala contributed to this report from Viera, Fla.
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