Washington Post columnist Barry Svrluga was first to report tonight that Ryan Zimmerman is coming back to D.C. for a 16th season, having agreed to a new 1-year deal with 2019’s World Series champion Washington Nationals, pending completion of a physical.
Zimmerman, 35, has played 15 seasons in the nation’s capital after he was drafted in the first round of the 2005 Draft with the Nats’ first pick upon returning to D.C.
GM Mike Rizzo told reporters at WinterFest in Nationals Park earlier this month that he’d just talked to Zimmerman and though he wasn’t willing to discuss the details of conversations, it seemed likely that the club would work something out with the veteran first baseman based on what he said.
“He’s a guy that we’re talking to,” Rizzo said, “and we’re not going to discuss that, but he’s a guy that some day there will be a statue with his likeness on it here in center field and we’d love for him to end his career here in Washington.”
Zimmerman is coming off another injury-impacted campaign with the Nationals in which he played in just 52 games, putting up a .257/.321/.415 line, nine doubles and six home runs in 190 plate appearances, over which he was worth 0.1 fWAR, but he returned to help the club down the stretch and went 14 for 55 with three doubles and two home runs in October on the way to a World Series win.
The veteran infielder was clear all along that he wanted to continue playing in a Nationals uniform, telling reporters in December that it was either return to the only team he’s ever known, or spend more time on other pursuits.
“I think I’ve made my intentions pretty clear,” Zimmerman said. “It’s either play some more here or play more golf.”
Apparently, it’s play some more here, on a club that also brought Howie Kendrick back to play some first and second, and signed left-handed hitting first baseman Eric Thames for 2020.
According to a report by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, Zimmerman, who earned $18M in 2019, in the final season of a 6-year/$100M deal with the Nationals, will get a $2M base salary in 2020, with the possibility of earning another $3M, “in incentives based on games and plate appearances.”