Nationals, Zimmerman Agree To Extension

The Nationals brought in several new players this offseason, but they may have just made their most important move. Washington has agreed to terms on a new $100MM six-year contract extension with Ryan Zimmerman, with a club option for a seventh year worth $24MM. In conjunction with his current deal, the new agreement can keep the 27-year-old in the nation's capital through 2020 if the option is exercised. Saturday was the Brodie Van Wagenen client's self-imposed deadline for a new deal.

Icon_13487393Zimmerman, 27, was already under contract through 2013 thanks to the five-year, $40MM contract he signed in April 2009. He is slated to earn $12MM this season and $14MM next season, and would have become a free agent this winter had he not signed that first extension. No-trade protection was said to be the final hurdle in talks and the new deal will provide Zimmerman with a full no-trade clause.

The third baseman also agreed to $10MM personal services deferral in order to give the Nationals flexibility, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.  Zimmerman's current contract will remain unchanged, Mark Zuckerman of NatsInsider.com tweets.

Since making his big league debut a few weeks after being the fourth overall pick in 2005, Zimmerman is a .288/.355/.479 career hitter with four 20+ homer and four 30+ double seasons to his credit. Over the last three years, he's produced a .296/.370/.499 batting line with a Gold Glove, an All-Star Game berth, two Silver Sluggers, and a pair of top-25 finishes in the MVP voting. Only Evan Longoria and Adrian Beltre have posted a better UZR at the hot corner than Zimmerman (+24.6 UZR) since 2009. In terms of wins over replacement, he's been the 12th most valuable position player in baseball over the last three seasons (17.1 WAR).

As with every long-term contract, the Nationals are assuming a significant amount of risk. Zimmerman missed more than two months due to abdominal surgery last summer, and he missed close to two months with a shoulder problem in 2008. After playing in 150+ games in his first two full seasons, he's topped the 150-game plateau just once in the last four years. Although he's an excellent defender at the hot corner at the moment, Zimmerman may have to move to first towards the end of the deal, a move that will be easier to swallow if third base prospect and 2011 sixth overall pick Anthony Rendon develops as expected.

GM Mike Rizzo has ensured that his core can remain intact through at least 2015. Zimmerman, Jayson Werth, Gio Gonzalez, Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Danny Espinosa, Wilson Ramos, Tyler Clippard, Drew Storen, Rendon, and Bryce Harper are all under contract or team control for at least another four seasons. Center field remains a long-term question, but next offseason's free agent crop offers a number of excellent candidates, including B.J. Upton, Michael Bourn, and Shane Victorino.

As our Extension Tracker shows, Zimmerman's contract is the fifth $100MM+ extension handed out over the last calendar year, and the third multi-year extension given out by the Nationals this offseason. Mike Morse (two years, $10.5MM) and Gonzalez (five years, $42MM) also signed for multiple years this winter while Zimmermann and Clippard remain extension candidates as well. Washington is very clearly a team on the rise, and now they know their franchise player will be around when the rebuild results in a playoff spot.

Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post first reported the agreement while Buster Olney of ESPN.com (via Twitter) reported the contract length.  Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio (via Twitter) reported the deal's worth.  Mark Zuckerman of NatsInsider.com tweeted that the option year is worth $24MM.

Mike Axisa contributed to this post. Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.


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100 Comments on "Nationals, Zimmerman Agree To Extension"


3 years 5 months ago

The Nationals are going all-in. Dynasty-or-nothing style.

nm344
3 years 5 months ago

How about getting to the playoffs first before talking about any dynasties.

redsx968
3 years 5 months ago

That would be the “nothing” side of his prediction

3 years 5 months ago

As redsx968 said, that would be the nothing side. They’re banking on the guys they’re locking up to carry them into a dynasty, and if they don’t it’s gonna be nothing at all.

HalfSt
3 years 5 months ago

Every team’s fans deserve to have a franchise player that plays his entire career with the team. Zimmerman is clearly that player for the Nats. Here’s hoping he puts together a HOF career with a guarantee that his plaque in Cooperstown sports a curly W.

+1/2St.

TophersReds
3 years 5 months ago

He still has a ways to go before being a HOF’er, so I wouldn’t start that talk right now. Anything can happen, but he needs to put up a few monster years for it to become a discussion.

FacelessGeneralManager
3 years 5 months ago

“Here’s hoping he puts together a hall of fame career”

TophersReds
3 years 5 months ago

“Anything can happen, but he needs to put up a few monster years for it to become a discussion.”

I was just pointing out that he hasn’t shown HOF numbers quite yet, and needs to have a few MVP-type years for it to become a serious discussion. Sure, I hope he gets it done too, he seems like a good guy.

JCCfromDC
3 years 5 months ago

 If he continues to win gold gloves and silver slugger awards, and putting up >7 WAR seasons on a regular basis, he’s going to be part of the conversation.  But we’ll save that for 2030 :-)

JCCfromDC
3 years 5 months ago

 If he continues to win gold gloves and silver slugger awards, and putting up >7 WAR seasons on a regular basis, he’s going to be part of the conversation.  But we’ll save that for 2030 :-)

Cheeseballs
3 years 5 months ago

Marine corps

LazerTown
3 years 5 months ago

He has 128 hr and he is already 27. There is no way he gets hof unless he starts hitting 40 a year for the next 7 years

JCCfromDC
3 years 5 months ago

 If HR are the only ticket to the HoF, then you’d probably be right.  But if he holds his career arc he won’t be Mike Schmidt, but he could easily be better than Brooks Robinson.

jesse heiman
3 years 5 months ago

I’m sure there were Expos players in the early years that stayed their whole career not sure if they were fan favorites

Chuck Norris
3 years 5 months ago

Oh the Nationals are coming..

NYBravosFan10
3 years 5 months ago

Oh good now we get to listen to the Nats announcer talk about how he is the absolute best player in the history of any sport and how there will never EVER be anyone like him. Good move for them though, in theory the have a great team. But theory doesn’t always work out so they need to prove that they can compete with the rest of the division.

kräftig. entschieden
3 years 5 months ago

Considering the context of the players Zimmerman was playing with 05-08, you might actually begin to think that.

FacelessGeneralManager
3 years 5 months ago

Orrr watch the mets broadcast and not the nats one.

cgreen127
3 years 5 months ago

and the mets hopes of ever competing in the next 10 years continue to decline

kräftig. entschieden
3 years 5 months ago

Won’t say anything until the monetary details come out, but if they got 6+1 club option, my immediate gut reaction is that this is a good deal.

KJ4realz
3 years 5 months ago

Excellent. Even as a Phillies fan, I love this move.

FacelessGeneralManager
3 years 5 months ago

Gunna wait till contract $ come out to say for sure. But im thinking this is gunna be a great deal for the Nats. Loved how these negotiations went, no drama, and if zim took a hometown discount, just awesome!!! Love the guy.

Casor_Greener
3 years 5 months ago

6/100 big risk for an injury prone player.

3 years 5 months ago

What exactly constitutes “injury prone”? Getting injured 3 times over 6 seasons?

Over the past 6 seasons, only 47 players have played in more games than Zimmerman. 1,940 players have played fewer.

Casor_Greener
3 years 5 months ago

You aren’t paying those players 16M either.  I wouldn’t give that much money to someone who has played over 150 games 1x in the last 4 years and he barely reached the 140 mark in one of those seasons.

I call that injury prone, YMMV

3 years 5 months ago

You mean like Alex Rodriguez, Joe Mauer, Todd Helton, Carlos Beltran, Jason Bay or Alfonso Soriano? They all made much more than $16mil per year and played in fewer games than Zimmerman over that same period.

Casor_Greener
3 years 5 months ago

I’m pretty sure they were playing more than 140 games when they signed those contracts.

Phadreus
3 years 5 months ago

As a Nats fan I am excited.  He is an elite defender at 3B and a top 5 hitters there as well.  Because of his age, he is probably worth a little more than Beltre year to year.  

nm344
3 years 5 months ago

Elite defenders should probably accumulate more than 0.2 dWAR over their career according to B-R.

monkeyking42
3 years 5 months ago

If you use Fangraphs’ WAR (based on UZR rather than TZ, and generally considered to be better, although both are still rough approximations), he’s been +52.3 runs better than average.  So, something like 5.2 dWAR

nm344
3 years 5 months ago

Well UZR hates him last year.

JCCfromDC
3 years 5 months ago

 And all of the people who try to construct defensive metrics acknowledge that individual seasons vary wildly, which is why they generally try to get three seasons worth of data. Last year Zimmerman was coming back from abdominal surgery. 

monkeyking42
3 years 5 months ago

Right.  One season of UZR is better than nothing, but you should never look at just one season when you can look at 2 or 3.

Phadreus
3 years 5 months ago

I dont mind using B-R for certain things, but Fangraphs is definitely better on the defensive metrics side.  

Brian McKeever
3 years 5 months ago

All those who have previously said that the Nats were essentially a big league farm club like the old Expos and just getting Zimmerman, Strasburg and Harper ready to play the prime of their careers in New York and Boston now have to admit they were wrong.  The Nats have one of the richest ownership groups in baseball and definitely have the cash to hold on to all of these guys for a long time to come.

johnsilver
3 years 5 months ago

A team gets the 1st overall pick often enough (Strasburg, Harper) or keeps getting top 5 picks over a 7-8 year period (Zimmrman) and they are bound to get the pick of the talent, as long as they don’t draft/scout like say Houston does and spend enough on bonuses..

lets give a little bit of being in the wrong place at the right time here.. Last place the year before when the top talent in the draft was available…

As for how will things go now, if they can turn it around? It’s a different ballgame drafting talents in the middle/bottom of the pack as Washington may find out if all these “lotto picks” do pay off.

natsnation21
3 years 5 months ago

You listed literally every example of the Nats having a top-5 pick since they’ve come to DC. Over that 7-8 year period you mentioned, they picked in the top 5 three times. As for other players, Ramos was acquired through trade, Zimmermann was a 2nd rounder, Espinosa was a 3rd rounder, and the players traded to Oakland were two 2nd rounders, a 10th rounder, and a 41st rounder. It’s not that they were just handed great players with high picks, it’s that they actually scouted and picked out great players, and got value outside the first round.

johnsilver
3 years 5 months ago

3 lotto picks over a 7 year period was enough and more than many teams get.

My point is that when/if they get to where they are competitive and in the + .500 side most every year, they will cease having any top 15, even top 20 picks at all and drafting talent changes drastic and is more of investing into scouting, rather than picking who is the obvious choice.

They have done a superb job of taking players, regardless of the cost so far and nobody can fault them there. Some teams have passed because they have not wanted to pay the large bonuses and gotten sub par talent as a result and the nationals have capitalized when they have been in a position to get a lotto pick and teams should do that, not a dice there, but there is a reason for having some of these top players and that was my point.

Thomas Wilson
3 years 5 months ago

tell that to the Pirates of 94-10 or the Royals of 92-10

FacelessGeneralManager
3 years 5 months ago

I really dont get what ur saying. Nationals have good scouting and will keep drafting well. The only thing that the top picks did was speed up the rebuild immensly.

johnsilver
3 years 5 months ago

It was not a dice on their scouting.. Thought made that clear.. getting those 3 picks was GOOD as thought made clear..

going forward they are going to have to MAINTAIN scouting and drafting **if** they play above .500 and I mentioned that, cause those lotto picks and numbers of top 10-15 picks will become non existent now.

nat’s HAVE spent well to get the talent when it has been available..OME teams have not and passed..Due to signability and DC did NOT.

They just have to maintain that and if anything?? Do even better with picks NOW being in the 15 and HIGHER range.

Hope that clears things up.

FunkyTime
3 years 5 months ago

What relevance does any of that have to the post you replied to?

3 years 5 months ago

Like this a lot for the Nats. Zimmerman just entering his prime and they get a bit of a discount. 

FacelessGeneralManager
3 years 5 months ago

Wow! Awesome contract! I was really thinking more like 125 million. Love this deal!! Didnt handcuff the nats at all and finally we can move on from worrying whats gunna happen to zim. Hes a nat!!!!

LUWahooNatFan
3 years 5 months ago

I’d like to point out I predicted 6 years/100 million

$22264602
3 years 5 months ago

Here’s your cookie!

LUWahooNatFan
3 years 5 months ago

Om nom nom

Encarnacion's Parrot
3 years 5 months ago

Great news for the Nats. If he comes back to his 5+ WAR self, nevermind 7+ WAR, this will be a steal.

Now lock up the other half of the Zimmermen!

UltimateYankeeFan
3 years 5 months ago

Seems like a great deal for the Nationals at $16.67MM per and a good deal for Zimmerman.  He obviously has absolutely no worries about his or his families future.
It’s good to see some of the teams that previously had been doormats rising up it only makes everyone better in the long run.

mmiller54
3 years 5 months ago

Gerardo Parra for Espinoza with Lombo to take over this year at second and Rendon the year after.

LUWahooNatFan
3 years 5 months ago

uh… no

Thomas Wilson
3 years 5 months ago

Lombo for Parra is a bit more like it

kräftig. entschieden
3 years 5 months ago

Not to be lost in this is that 10 million of the 100 million (per Jon Heyman) comes in a deferred personal services deal, which doesn’t actually add to the payroll. So really it’s 6/90 or 8/116 or 9/140 if they exercise the club option, depending on how you want to look at it. It seems really unlikely that the club will exercise a 24MM option on Zimmerman at 35, but you never know.

garylanglais
3 years 5 months ago

Unless you’re concerned with the Nats getting close to the $178m luxury tax threshold or the $189m (from 2014-2016) then the deferred $10m is relatively insignificant.  The team still has to pay the $10m so it’s not like the team gets any discount. 

Only benefit is they would be able to find a way to drop $10m of player salaries to avoid the luxury tax.  However, the Nats have never had a $70m payroll.  However, this year they will likely be in $85m neighborhood.

kräftig. entschieden
3 years 5 months ago

I’m saying that it’s about 1.2 million in payroll/year AAV, since it doesn’t kick in until after he’s retired. It’s not a lot, but it can provide a little more flexibility.

BitLocker
3 years 5 months ago

Good signing as long as he stays healthy.

Todd Smith
3 years 5 months ago

I like the quote from the anonymous executive:

“seems like they have 2 $100M contracts but no $100M players.”

Guest
3 years 5 months ago

too bad he’s wrong

TimotheusATL
3 years 5 months ago

 anonymous [mets] executive

Thomas Wilson
3 years 5 months ago

I think they have more like 4 maybe 5

Michael_Jordan
3 years 5 months ago

 I make $100MM per day. jk. Zimmer better stay healthy.