Nationals Links: Zimmerman, Rizzo, Harper

The Nationals signed franchise cornerstone Ryan Zimmerman to a six-year, $100MM extension over the weekend, and can now turn their full attention to Spring Training. Here are some links from the nation's capitol, starting with notes on baseball's newest $100MM man…

  • ESPN.com's Keith Law argues that Zimmerman should have had to prove his ability to stay healthy before obtaining such a large guarantee from the Nationals, who have promising third base prospect Anthony Rendon in their system.
  • Matt Swartz of FanGraphs compares Zimmerman to players who signed long-term deals at similar stages in their careers and concludes that comparable agreements have been worthwhile for teams in recent years.
  • Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com has the year-by-year breakdown of Zimmerman's extension. The third baseman will earn $12MM in 2012, $14MM each year from 2013-2018, and $18MM in 2019. The $18MM option for 2020 comes with a $2MM buyout. Zuckerman explains how the personal services contract and escalator payments fit into the deal.
  • Amanda Comak of The Washington Times notes (on Twitter) that a $10MM "personal services" provision raises the value of the new extension to exactly $100MM.
  • “It feels good,” said GM Mike Rizzo to Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post in the wake of the signing. “You have payroll certainty. You have control of players … And there’s a lot of comfort to the fact these guys are going to be together for a long time … And now we’re ready to take off.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports predicts that Bryce Harper will be with the Nationals early in the season, but not before April 25th. He notes that the outfielder must spend at least 20 days in the minors to delay his free agency by a year.

Ben Nicholson-Smith contributed to this post.


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30 Comments on "Nationals Links: Zimmerman, Rizzo, Harper"


stl_cards16
3 years 6 months ago

Is something wrong with MLBTR?  This doesn’t seem like the type of article that has one comment in 40 minutes.

inleylandwetrust
3 years 6 months ago

We’re just ready for the games to start man

LUWahooNatFan
3 years 6 months ago

The future is indeed bright in NatsTown

FS54
3 years 6 months ago

That’s a pretty great deal signed by RZ. Very team-friendly!

3 years 6 months ago

???? ummmmmm

FS54
3 years 6 months ago

do you disagree?

3 years 6 months ago

Yeah a little.  I mean I wouldn’t say it’s ‘very team friendly’.  It seems like market price 2 years in advance to me.

FS54
3 years 6 months ago

I love the breakdown of the deal. 14 million through 2018 (age 33) and then 18 million at age 34, then the option with 2 million buyout. I think Zimmerman is easily worth more than 14 million in his prime years. Guess time will tell whether he will prove himself more than what he is getting paid, but I think he will.

essmeier
3 years 6 months ago

Why the certainty that Harper will reach the bigs so soon?  Or am I the only one who noticed that he hit .256/.329/.395 at AA last year?

jwsox
3 years 6 months ago

Small sample size he destroyed A ball which he spent more time in.

YanksFanSince78
3 years 6 months ago

Yeah but he did nothing at all to make anyone think he should start the year in the majors, or even AAA really. 

A guy like Harper is a tricky situation. He’s NEVER had to deal with failure. Rushing him to the majors could be a mistake if he struggles because you never know how he’s going to handle it. I see nothing wrong with letting him prove he can handle AA and AAA in 2012 and delaying his mlb debut until 2013. At best, maybe a September call up.

Roy Munson
3 years 6 months ago

For the exception of catcher The Nats are still extremely weak up the middle, Rendon can probably become a 2B down the line which may help and you can move Morse to 1st. The Nats are still 1 big bat, a SS and a CF away from being WS contenders.

Ian Desmond and Rick Ankiel are not every day Major Leaguers, and spending on BJ Upton would be a huge mistake. A much improved team, but a lot more needs to be done in the next two years

I know the fans think Harper is ready, but he’s not, not even ready for a June or July Call up, he needs another 5-600 AB’s against professional pitching and his AA numbers although impressive for a 19 year old, are not for a Major League roster spot.

3 years 6 months ago

SS is not a weakness if the Nats move Espinosa across.  He was a SS in college and has much better range than Desmond.  The question is is arm strength.

As far as CF is concerned, the Nats will likely attack Michael Bourne for two reasons: 1) He’s a left-handed bat; and 2) He’s a Boras client.

And as a Nats fan, I agree, Harper is not ready for the show yet.  I’d like to see him get 200-300 ABs at Syracuse before getting the call.

Natsfan89
3 years 6 months ago

How can you say your a Nats fan and in the same post question Espinosa’s arm strength? You watched him last year right? Dude has a cannon.

And Desmond hit .289 with an average OBP in the second half last year, so I’m interested to see if he can build on that.

3 years 6 months ago

I was comparing his arm strength to Desmond’s.  From what I saw (and remember), Desmond has a much stronger arm.  The problem with Desmond is where to hit him and his defense (-0.5 dWAR, I think).

Roy Munson
3 years 6 months ago

Bourne when? at the deadline or off season? Harper still needs to show he can hit AA pitching, he’s not there yet, and another 5-6 months of riding buses will probably do him some good in the professional department as well

3 years 6 months ago

Offseason; Boras clients are “typically” known to sign extensions.  And you better believe Boras knows the deep pocket Nats are looking for a quality CF.

3 years 6 months ago

SS is not a weakness if the Nats move Espinosa across.  He was a SS in college and has much better range than Desmond.  The question is is arm strength.

As far as CF is concerned, the Nats will likely attack Michael Bourne for two reasons: 1) He’s a left-handed bat; and 2) He’s a Boras client.

And as a Nats fan, I agree, Harper is not ready for the show yet.  I’d like to see him get 200-300 ABs at Syracuse before getting the call.

LazerTown
3 years 6 months ago

i agree, leave him in the minors for another year and 20 days and you get him for 1 year older.  There is no need to rush him up unless he the nats are in the hunt for the wc.  Which will still be hard with the Phillies, marlins, braves.  Give him more time in minors, so that when you do bring him up he is elite player,  Even Arod; who as far as i can tell is somewhat of a comparable player to his potential struggled when he came up.  He his roughly .220 in his first 200 ml ab’s  with only 5 hr.

Give him more time, many players get busted because they are rushed to majors.

Willjhull
3 years 6 months ago

I disagree with you assessments on Desmond and Ankiel, they are solid ML players.  They may not fit into what the Nats needs are but they are good players.  Leadoff hitters are hard to come by and rarely are the leadoff hitters they once were…CF is a power bat position…

Paul Shailor
3 years 6 months ago

Jeez money is huge now, 5 years ago a 100mil deal never would have been team friendly!

Brian McKeever
3 years 6 months ago

Yep–compared to the Fielder and Pujols contracts, Zimmmerman’s is VERY team friendly.  And if Zim stays healthy, it will be a far better value as well.

Paul Shailor
3 years 6 months ago

 Yea its just crazy! I remember when Beltran signed his 100mm deal ESPN did this big thing about 100 mil contracts and how rare they were.  Now you are getting 5 in an offseason. I do agree Zim could very well be a better value than pujols or fielder

YanksFanSince78
3 years 6 months ago

You said that as if Zimmerman was a comparable to player to Fielder or Pujols and he’s not. Zimmerman is a great player but he has yet to put together back to back MVP caliber seasons like the other two, even though he’s had some good years in 06/07 and 09/10.

He missed a lot of games in 08 and 11 and just wonder if the Nats were wise to commit to that deal with Rendon in the system?

Paul Shailor
3 years 6 months ago

Jeez money is huge now, 5 years ago a 100mil deal never would have been team friendly!

LazerTown
3 years 6 months ago

I would stay away from bourn.  He is a very juan pierre type player.  And will be way overpaid for what he produces, and is not the type of player that you want as he ages.  boras will easily find him $10+++ million aav, which is too much.

3 years 6 months ago

Bourn is much better defensively than Pierre. Bourne 2.3 career dWAR (lead the league in 2010) compared to Pierre’s -0.4 career dWAR.

YanksFanSince78
3 years 6 months ago

Defense is the only thing Bourn “might” have over Pierre (pre-free agency) and even that’s questionable. Pierre was a far superior contact hitter and that allowed him to post 3 seasons with an OBP above .360. Bourn has yet to have 1 season with a similar OBP.

The thing that makes Pierre so “hated” or disliked is that he was signed to a horrible contract (not his fault the Dodgers overpaid) and this odd thought that he was some horrible defensive player. Sure he had a noodle of an arm but his range, for the most part, has always been above average

ex: career RngR of +64 and career UZR of +32.9

LazerTown
3 years 6 months ago

which is still pretty far from ml pitching.

YanksFanSince78
3 years 6 months ago

How old is Harper? 19 and hasn’t played even 50 games at AA yet? Plus he has yet to even excel at that level yet (AA) even though he’s obviously ahead of schedule and it’s a small sample size. The Nats would absolutely be justified in starting him out at AA this season and having him finish at AAA.