The Face of the Franchise. Mr. Walkoff. 15 Years. 1 Team. All of that describes the now-veteran first baseman, Ryan Zimmerman who is in the twilight years of his career.
Zimmerman, is currently battling plantar fasciitis, an injury that has limited him to only 22 games this season. Zim had the same troubles in 2015, but to a more severe extent. Besides injury, a more pressing question that awaits Zimmerman is his impending free agency following the 2019 campaign. Zimmerman has an $18 million dollar option for 2020, that is sure to be declined as the Nats will opt out for the $2 million buyout. However, it’s a given that the Nats will find a way to keep their first ever draft pick in a Nationals uniform to ensure he finishes his career in the Nation’s capital.
While Zimmerman is no longer the big-name he once was 10 years ago, his career is something Nationals fans must appreciate as long as he plays. While he is no longer the Gold-Glove sure-handed third baseman, Zimmerman still provides plenty of offense.
If healthy, Zimmerman is a lock for a 30 homer, 100-RBI campaign. 2017 is an example of that, as Zimmerman played his way into the starting lineup of the All-Star Game. As the Nats transition over the next few years, there should still be a sense of continuity and Zimmerman stands to be just that.
If you read my first edition of “How to Fix the Washington Nationals”, you saw the trade that brought Josh Naylor to Washington. 2020 will be a pivotal year for the franchise and I believe the best option for the Nationals going into next year would be a platoon or 60-40 playing time split between Zim and Naylor. Naylor and Zimmerman at first in 2020 would give the Nats a chance to save some money and use it towards starting and relief pitching. As a Nats fan, you may know you can never have enough quality pitching.
Zimmerman on a 2-year, $9 million deal with Naylor a part of the picture may be an ideal alignment as the ballclub begins to transition.
Regardless of the persistent nagging injuries, Ryan Zimmerman will always hold a place in every Nats fans’ heart, and stands to be in line to finish his career as a National.
Written by Ben Favela