Ryan Zimmerman is done. Talking to reporters after what will now be his final game in a 16-year major league career this past October, Zimmerman, 37, said he would probably make his decision whether to return for a 17th run in the majors around the time he would usually have to start ramping up for Spring Training.
With MLB and the MLBPA still trying to hammer out a new CBA and the players locked out, however, the 2005 1st Round pick officially announced that his playing days were done this afternoon.
“Dear D.C.,” Zimmerman wrote in a Twitter note sent out by his agents at CAA Baseball, “... when we first met I was a 20-year-old kid fresh out of the University of Virginia — the very first player ever selected by the newly created Washington Nationals in the 2005 Draft. I had no idea how unbelievable the next years of my life were going to be.”
“We have won together, lost together, and, honestly, grown up together. We lost 100 games (twice), we won 90 games (four times), we moved into a new stadium, we failed to get out of the first round of the playoffs (four grueling times) and, of course, we experienced the magical World Series run of 2019 that no one will ever forget. Through all of the achievements and the failures you always supported me and for that I will be forever grateful.”
Today, Ryan Zimmerman announces his retirement from the game of baseball. Thank you Ryan for all that you have done both on and off the field!— CAA Baseball (@CAA_Baseball) February 15, 2022
A message from Employee No. 11 ...
Zimmerman goes on to thank the Lerner family, the Nationals’ owners, GM Mike Rizzo, and the entire organization for believing in him, his managers, coaches, and trainers for all the help they gave him throughout his career, as well as his teammates and all the lessons that he learned from them and was able to pass on.
When it came time to make a decision on his future, Zimmerman told the Washington Post’s Barry Svrulga and Jesse Dougherty in an exclusive interview timed to go out along with the announcement, it was not a difficult one:
“At this point in my career, it’s not about making money,” [Zimmerman] said. “It’s more the weighing of how much time it takes for me to put in the stuff behind the scenes that lets me still be successful on the field that people don’t really know about. And it’s worth it if you have a chance to win the World Series.
“For me, with the four kids at home now, it’s kind of like: I’ve accomplished a lot. I’ve accomplished more than I’ve ever wanted to accomplish.
At this point, do I really have the 100 percent drive and commitment to do all the extracurricular stuff that I expect of myself to play the game?”
In his 17 years (16 seasons, since he opted out of playing in 2020’s COVID campaign), the Virginia-raised and educated infielder put up a combined .277./341/.475 line with a total of 417 doubles and 284 home runs in his 1,799 games and 7,402 plate appearances with the organization.
In a different role as a bench bat and backup first baseman in his final season in 2021, the veteran put up a .243/.286/.471 line with 16 doubles and 14 home runs in 110 games.
His success in a new role didn’t surprise GM Mike Rizzo, who was confident enough in Zimmerman that he knew it would work out just fine.
“The production was not surprising,” Rizzo said on the final day of the 2020 season. “It was expected of him and of me, and he’s — Ryan Zimmerman has a place on this roster as long as Mike Rizzo is the GM, so whenever he wants to take a major league contract, just call me up and we’ll give him one.”
Instead, Zimmerman decided to call it a career today.
Davey Martinez, the manager in D.C. for Zimmerman’s final four seasons as a player, talked after the 2021 finale last October about what he’ll remember about their time together.
“Celebrating the World Series together,” Martinez said.
“He waited a long time for — and him being able to do what he did in ‘19 for us at the end there was truly amazing, but we’ve had so many good memories together, you can’t just really pick just one.”
“I watched him play for so many years from the other side, and what a player he was, you know.”
“He did phenomenal for us this year, coming off the bench, spot-starting at first base, and being such an unbelievable inspiration to all the guys,” Martinez continued.
“It was an honor to be with him,” the manager added. “I don’t know what his plans are, but I’ll always remember him.”
Now the Nationals and Zimmerman know. He’s called it a career. And what a career. Thanks for the memories, Zim.