Ryan Zimmerman opted out of playing in 2020’s 60-game COVID campaign out of concern for the health of his family, but the Washington Nationals’ first first round pick (in 2005) said this summer he didn’t think that he wanted his career to end just yet, after 15 seasons in the nation’s capital and one World Series championship in 2019.
“I fully plan on being back,” Zimmerman said in a Zoom conversation with Dr. Anthony Fauci last July. ”I’ve told my family and a bunch of close friends that I can’t go out like this.”
Zimmerman told the Washington Post’s Barry Svrluga in late September he missed being a part of the game and the competition that had been a part of his life for all those years.
“I miss competing,” Zimmerman said.
“I miss the challenge of going out there and maneuvering through a season, where you have times you feel good, times you feel bad. I miss being around the guys — all of that.”
Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies at the end of the 2020 campaign that he wasn’t sure what the future held for the 36-year-old Zimmerman.
“We had a few conversations early at the latter end of the season last year, I’m not sure if he’s made a decision yet or not,” Rizzo explained.
“We’ll have to make a decision on him depending on what his feelings are with his family.”
In mid-December, Rizzo told reporters that Zimmerman returning for a 16th season in D.C. remained a possibility, though he hadn’t spoke to him in a while.
“I haven’t spoken to Zim in a couple of — it’s been weeks,” Rizzo said on a Zoom call.
“But I’ve communicated with him via text messages and ‘Happy Thanksgiving’-type of messages, and we always seem to keep in contact pretty good.”
Even after the Nationals signed Josh Bell to be the everyday first baseman in Washington, Rizzo said there was still room for Zimmerman if he decided to play again.
“I’d think that the acquisition of Josh Bell isn’t going to prohibit us from looking for a good right-handed hitter that either comes off the bench or plays multiple positions or something like that.
“So, we certainly haven’t ruled out a Zim reunion, and that skill set still fits on our roster.”
According to reports this afternoon, the Nationals and Zimmerman have agreed on a 1-year/$1M deal that will bring him back to back up at first base.
Before he sat out of the 2020 season, Zimmerman played in just 52 of 162 games in 2019, 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, and he was 14 for 55 (.255/.317/.418) with three doubles and two homers in 16 games and 60 PAs during his fifth trip to the postseason, when he helped the Nationals win the first World Series by a D.C.-based team since 1924.
It feels awkward tweeting about baseball news on a day like this, but the #Nats are bringing back franchise favorite Ryan Zimmerman on a one-year, $1 million contract.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) January 22, 2021
Nationals are bringing back Ryan Zimmerman as a backup 1B to pair with Josh Bell. Seemed all too logical once Bell came aboard, and now the bench is beginning to fill out. https://t.co/GNzzExhEKj— Jesse Dougherty (@dougherty_jesse) January 22, 2021
Zimmerman agreed to his 2020 contract with the Nationals (1 year, $2 million plus incentives) on Jan. 24. He agreed to his 2021 contract (1 year, $1 million plus incentives) on Jan. 22. Must've been more antsy to get it done this time.— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) January 22, 2021