Ryan Zimmerman feels he has “two, three, four years left” in his career and he wants to spend them with the Nationals, the veteran first baseman tells MLB.com’s Bill Ladson as part of a lengthy Q&A piece, admitting that “It would be really weird to play anywhere else.” It seemed as if Zimmerman’s time as an effective everyday player was winding down after injury-shortened seasons in 2014-16, though he rebounded with a healthy and productive 2017 season. This year has been more of a mixed bag, as Zimmerman missed over two months with an oblique injury but has hit well (.267/.343/.506 in 286 PA) when he has been able to play.
Zimmerman, who turns 34 later this month, is owed $18MM next season, plus the Nats hold a $18MM club option on his services for 2020. He acknowledged that he won’t be making such superstar money in the future, saying “At some point, if you want to be here, you have to make some sacrifices. I’m not going sit here and say I’m willing to play for the league minimum, but for me to play here would be the ultimate goal, to finish my career here.”
Here’s more from around the NL East…
- Could the Phillies look to trade Carlos Santana this offseason? “There has been some recent rumble” about the possibility, according to NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury, though the idea seems rather speculative in nature. Santana signed a three-year, $60MM deal to join the Phils just last winter, a signing that seemed surprising at the time since the club seemingly already had breakout rookie Rhys Hoskins established at first base. Hoskins was shifted to left field instead, leading to a disastrous result from a defensive standpoint (-25 Defensive Runs Saved, -15.4 UZR/150). Santana, meanwhile, has hit .233/.354/.429 with 23 homers over 616 PA — solid numbers, if less than the Phillies were expecting from the signing. A Santana trade would allow Hoskins to return to first base, while allowing the Phillies to upgrade defensively at the very least in left field, and possibly make an even bigger all-around addition given how the team is thought to be preparing for a splashy offseason. It’s worth noting that $25MM of Santana’s contract has already been paid out in salary and signing bonus, though even $35MM over the two remaining years could be a bit of a tough sell in trade talks, as Santana is limited to just first base (or DH) and he turns 34 in April.
- Long before Jacob deGrom became a Cy Young contender, he was an unheralded ninth-round draft choice for the Mets in 2010 who wasn’t even used as a starting pitcher until near the end of his final year at Stetson University. The Athletic’s Tim Britton (subscription required) has the story about how Mets scout Les Parker initially discovered deGrom, almost by accident as Parker happened to attend a scout day game at Stetson long enough to see deGrom enter as a reliever in the ninth inning. Other Mets evaluators agreed with deGrom’s potential, and while his profile rose after becoming a starter later in Stetson’s season, the Giants were the only other team known to have significant interest in drafting deGrom. The story is well worth a full read for a look at the scouting process and how you never know which prospect could emerge as a future star.
- There has been quite a bit of speculation about the future of the Braves’ third base spot, be it top prospect Austin Riley winning the job or the possibility that Atlanta could look to acquire a big-ticket name for the hot corner. Johan Camargo, however, has played well as the regular third baseman this season, and The Athletic’s David O’Brien (subscription required) wrote earlier this week that Camargo seems to be forcing himself into the Braves’ future plans. “He’s done a lot to (impress team officials),” manager Brian Snitker said. “As they go into the offseason and they’re looking, they might be able to take money they were going to spend (at third base) and spend it somewhere else.” Camargo has hit .274/.354/.468 with 18 homers over 474 PA this season, while also posting a +6.5 UZR/150 and +5 Defensive Runs Saved at the hot corner. This adds up to an under-the-radar 3.0 fWAR season for the 24-year-old, who is under team control through the 2023 season. The Braves could use Camargo in a super-utility role should Riley emerge as a viable big leaguer in Spring Training, or O’Brien even raises the possibility that Riley could become a trade chip if Camargo has done enough to win the everyday third base job going forward. It would be a bold move to deal a top-100 prospect like Riley, though Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos is no stranger to moving prospects for established Major League talent.