Longtime National Ryan Zimmerman is slated to reach free agency after the season, but it doesn’t appear he’ll retire or wind up in another uniform in 2020. Odds are Zimmerman and the Nationals will hammer out a new agreement prior to next season, Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com suggests.
The Nationals already control Zimmerman for another year, but they’re sure to decline his $18MM club option in favor of a $2MM buyout. That’ll bring an official end to the six-year, $100MM extension the Nationals gave Zimmerman in 2012 when he was their franchise player and one of the premier third basemen in the game. Unfortunately, injuries have been an all-too-common problem for Zimmerman since his deal kicked in during the 2014 season – the last time he lined up at the hot corner.
Zimmerman transitioned to first base in 2015 and has since offered up-and-down production, with 2019 sure to count among the least effective campaigns of his career. The 35-year-old is coming off yet another injury-limited regular season, in which he amassed 190 plate appearances and hit .257/.321/.415 with six home runs.
Zimmerman did come up with a heroic swing in the Nationals’ Game 4 win over the Dodgers in the NLDS, though it’s still fair to say his output has typically fallen short since the club made a long-term commitment to him. Nevertheless, the affinity he and the Nationals have for each other seems as if it will pave the way to another contract, per Zuckerman.
A Nat since they chose him fourth in the 2005 draft, Zimmerman told Zuckerman his time in Washington has been “special,” and added “my family’s close. My wife is from here. So I’m lucky: I get to see my kids for 81 games. A lot of guys are on the road. So I look at it more as I’m lucky to be in this situation. I think a lot of guys would love to have this situation, but don’t really have the opportunity that I’ve had. So I think I feel more lucky than anything.”
Regardless of whether Zimmerman does remain a National, he’ll go into the offseason as an obvious candidate for an inexpensive short-term deal. At the moment, he’s one of a few Nationals first base options with uncertain futures ahead. Matt Adams also has a club option (for $4MM), but the team seems likely to buy him out for $1MM. Meanwhile, Washington’s control over soon-to-be free agents Howie Kendrick and Gerardo Parra is about to expire.