WASHINGTON – Mr. National is not giving up his title – at least not in 2020.
In a story first reported by the Washington Post’s Barry Svrluga, Virginia Beach’s Ryan Zimmerman has agreed to a one-year deal with the Washington Nationals. Howard Fendrich of the The Associated Press reports Zimmerman, the UVA Baseball Hall of Famer, will receive a $2 million base salary. Incentives, based upon the number of games played and plate appearances, could bring the figure to as high as $5 million. The AP reports the deal includes a full no-trade clause.
Zimmerman, who will turn 36 years-old this season, became an unrestricted free agent after the Nationals’ 2019 World Series championship season.
Zimmerman holds Washington’s franchise records for hits, doubles, home runs and runs batted in. The Kellam High School product has spent his entire 15-year career with the Nationals. He’d stated, on multiple occasions, he wanted to continue playing past last season – a season that saw him win his first World Series.
“I think I’ve made my intentions pretty clear,” Zimmerman said in December. “It’s either play some more here or play more golf.”
He was the first player drafted by the Nationals in 2005 after the club moved from Montreal to Washington and he’s played in every one of their 15 seasons. He holds franchise career records for hits, doubles, total bases, homers and RBIs.
Zimmerman was around for the consecutive 100-loss seasons in 2008 and 2009, the frequent trips to — and early exits from — the playoffs from 2012 to 2017, and, of course, the World Series championship last year.
Injuries limited him to 52 games and a .257 average with six homers and 27 RBIs in 2019, although he was a key contributor in the postseason. He is expected to share time at first base in 2020 with newcomer Eric Thames and holdover Howie Kendrick.
“He’s the classiest big leaguer I’ve ever been around. He’s the culmination of a lot of hard work. The guy’s been through some trials and tribulations. We all forget about the first six, seven years, when he played 160 games every year. I saw needles in his shoulder, I saw him play when he probably shouldn’t have played earlier in his career,” general manager Mike Rizzo said late last season. “That’s the kind of man he is and the kind of player he is. You see when he’s a healthy player, he’s a pretty damn good one still.”