To Ryan Zimmerman, money doesn’t matter now. Winning does. The longtime National is looking for a ring even if that means he has to accept a reduced role for the 2020 season. Before the 2012 season, Zimmerman signed a team friendly six-year, $100 million extension to stay with the Nationals which looked like a bargain at the time but comes with a heavy price tag.
The oft-injured first baseman, who is on the Injured List right now with plantar fasciitis, comes with a price tag of $18 million this year and a $18 million club option next year that will almost certainly be declined.
Zimmerman was just entering his prime when he signed the extension. Coming off a 2011 season that saw Zimmerman suit up in just 101 games the Nationals were hopeful he would find his form from the 2009 and 2010 season that saw him become an All-star in 2009 with a combined .893 OPS and 58 homers with 191 RBIs.
Zimmerman has lived up to that expectation just once since signing that extension. During the 2017 season, Zimmerman’s only fully-healthy season, he suited up for 144 games and slashed an impressive .303/.358/.573. Zimmerman also added 36 longballs and 108 RBIs.
Now with Zimmerman on the IL once again after tearing his plantar fasciitis for the second time this season it could be months before Zimmerman can return to the field which makes it likely he won’t see the field until the 2020 season. After he becomes a free agent for the first time in his career.
Zimmerman has faced the reality of his contract situation realizing that with his lengthy injury history it’ll be difficult for him to sign a multi-year extension.
“I’ll go one year every year, I don’t think it really matters,” Zimmerman told NBC Sports Washington’s Todd Dybas. “At this point of my career, I’m not going to play 140 games anyway. If I give some flexibility moneywise and you go sign that guy back again, Matty Adams, have us kind of work together. I think that’s how a lot of teams are doing it at some positions. So, yeah, I think there’s options and we’ve always had a good relationship with Mark [Lerner] and Ted [Lerner] and Mike [Rizzo]. That’s the least of my worries right now.”
Zimmerman’s club optioned will likely be bought out by the organization because $18 million for an aging star is just way too much. Zimmerman and Nationals GM Mike Rizzo will likely enter negotiations after the seasons and an agreement will be put into place for a deal which will likely last a year or two.
“I’m not going to ask for a multi-year, crazy deal,” Zimmerman told Dybas. “Money doesn’t matter to me anymore. I just want to keep playing baseball. Does this affect next year? Of course. I need to get healthy and come back this year and play well to show them I can play.”