March 08, 2012; Melbourne, FL, USA; Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (11) hits an RBI single during the spring training game against the Houston Astros at Space Coast Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE
Through three innings this afternoon, Washington Nationals' third baseman Ryan Zimmerman was 2 for 2 with a double and a HR which left him 7 for 11 with three doubles and two home runs five games into his Grapefruit League season. The third baseman left the game after striking out looking to end the fourth. He'd done enough.
Coming off a .289/.355/.443, 21 double, 12 HR, +2.5 fWAR 2011 season in which the 26-going-on-27-year-old '05 1st Round pick missed significant time with a torn abdominal muscle, Zimmerman signed a 6-year/$100 million dollar extension this winter which combined with the last two years/$26M of his current deal guaranteed that the face of the Washington Nationals franchise would remain in the nation's capital through 2019 (with an option for the 2020 season). The last two full seasons he's played, Zimmerman's slash line's been about the same, (.292/.364/.525 in '09, .307/.388/.510 in '10), with 37 doubles and 33 HR's in 2009 and 32 doubles and 25 HR's in 2010, and he's been worth +7.3 and +7.2 fWAR in each of his last two full seasons...
The Bill James is projecting more of the same from the third baseman. A.291/.363/.486 line, 35 doubles, 22 HR's. When Zimmerman signed the extension (which includes a no-trade clause in the last six seasons), the seven-year veteran and runner-up for ROY in 2006 who's won a Gold Gloves and two Silver Slugger awards at third base, told reporters that he'd been through the tough times in Washington and wants to be here when the team makes its first run at a World Series championship, a goal he said he thinks can be accomplished in the near future.
"I wouldn't have signed here, or I wouldn't have signed anywhere as a free agent," Zimmerman told 106.7 the FAN hosts Holden Kushner and Mike Wise, "if I didn't think we had a realistic chance of winning a World Series at some point during my contract, and I really, really do think that we have a chance to do that." 128 HR's, nine career multi-HR games, enough walk-off HR's (eight so far) to earn his Mr. Walk-Off moniker, a .288/.355/.479 career line, a 162-game average of 41 doubles and 25 HR's, and the most Zimmerman's had to show for it so far are some personal accolades (a lot of $) and one third-place finish in the NL East.
Zimmerman's been a second-half player over the course of his career with a .302/.370/.495 second-half slash over his first seven MLB seasons (his .275/.339/.464 career first-half line isn't bad either) and in seven Septembers so far he's got a combined .293/.358/.460 slash. So far in his career he's been playing on teams that played a spoiler's role at best, however, so what's Ryan Zimmerman going to do when the Nationals are finally playing meaningful games in September?