Ryan Zimmerman is in the final guaranteed year of his contract, and the longtime Nationals staple tells MLB.com’s Bill Ladson that he has yet to speak to GM Mike Rizzo or team ownership about what he hopes will be a continued relationship in 2020 and beyond. The Nats hold an $18MM club option ($2MM buyout) on Zimmerman for next season that is highly unlikely to be exercised, given the veteran’s injuries and declining production in recent years. Zimmerman is very eager to finish his career with the only franchise he has ever known, and reiterated that he is open to playing the rest of his career by ear, even returning just in a platoon situation at first base.
“I’m willing to come back [to Washington] and do one year, year by year, for a lot less money,” Zimmerman said. “I don’t think the money matters to me anymore. I just want to continue to play baseball and keep playing baseball in D.C. I’m lucky that my kids are here. My family is here.” If the Nats didn’t want to keep Zimmerman on the roster, he stopped short of saying he’d retire, though “it would be a tough decision to leave my family and not be around” while playing in another city.
Here’s more from around the NL East…
- The Phillies’ surprise hire of former manager Charlie Manuel as the team’s new hitting coach is explored by Matt Gelb of The Athletic (subscription required), who wonders if it could be a harbinger of future moves if the Phils continue to underachieve. Owner John Middleton, as per Gelb, “has solicited opinions in recent weeks from inside and outside the organization to gain a clearer picture of his franchise’s warts,” and Middleton also “became a decisive voice in” Manuel’s hiring. It stands to reason that further coaching changes could be made, or manager Gabe Kapler could be on the hot seat, as he is only under contract through the 2020 season.
- Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen gave reporters (including the New York Post’s Mike Puma) an update on Jed Lowrie on Wednesday, saying that Lowrie has been participating in simulated games, including running, fielding, and hitting drills. Due to a string of knee, hamstring, and calf injuries, Lowrie hasn’t played at all this season, and despite his recent progress, it still isn’t clear if he’ll be able to make it onto the field. Van Wagenen is still hopeful Lowrie can play in 2019, though he also didn’t reveal any plans for a minor league rehab assignment. Since Lowrie would obviously need a good deal of time to ramp up, there isn’t a lot of opportunity left for an overly-lengthy rehab assignment, given that the minor league season comes to a close in early September.
- Marlins CEO Derek Jeter was non-committal about the idea of moving in the fences at Marlins Park for 2020, telling MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro and other reporters that the organization would “maybe” consider such an idea. As Frisaro notes, Marlins Park has allowed the second-fewest home runs of any stadium in baseball since the start of the 2012 season (when the Miami ballpark opened), and while the Marlins’ oft-disappointing lineups have undoubtedly played a role in this power outage, players on all teams have been constantly bedeviled by the ballpark’s big dimensions.