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Nats will face decision on Ryan Zimmerman soon

Mar 27, 2011, 8:48 AM EDT

Washington Nationals Photo Day Getty Images

If you had to call one player “Mr. National,” it’d be Ryan Zimmerman. He’s only 26 years old, but the well-rounded third baseman can already claim 833 career hits and has played in all but 134 games of the franchise’s existence.

Stephen Strasburg draws headlines and Bryce Harper is certainly an intriguing raw talent, but Zimmerman is D.C. baseball. And it’s time to start thinking about paying him the big bucks.

According to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, Zimmerman has indicated that he will test the free agent waters if a contract extension can’t be reached before the end of the 2012 season. Zim is signed at $8.925 million this year, $12 million next year and $14 million in 2013. But 2014 — a season that might be realistic for the Nats’ goals of competing — carries no guaranteed salary for the third baseman.

“I’m only 26, but I feel people think that I’m 30-something,” Zimmerman said Saturday. “They forget that I was up when I was 20 years old. Basically, when I first got called up, I was a baby. I wasn’t a grown-up yet. A lot of how I’ve grown up has been influenced by D.C. culture. It’s a special place to me.”

Even as a 28-year-old or 29-year-old, Zimmerman would draw major interest on the open market. He registered a fourth-best 7.4 WAR last season and probably deserved more than the handful of MVP votes that he received. Soon enough, the Nats are going to have to make a decision about his long term value.

  1. david7590 - Mar 27, 2011 at 9:10 AM

    You pay him, not a very hard decision to make.

  2. Professor Longnose - Mar 27, 2011 at 9:23 AM

    Hey, Drew, I think you inadvertently made Zimmerman sound worse than he did in the original article. the article is full of stuff about Zimmerman wanting to stay and how close he thinks the franchise is to winning. The quote you use, while focusing on the actual issue, makes him sound like that’s all he’s threatening the Nationals.

    Also, you wrote that he wants the contract extension by the beginning of the 2012 season. The original article says the end of the 2012 season, which for a current contract running through 2013 sounds more in line with current norms in negotiating.

  3. The Baseball Idiot - Mar 27, 2011 at 12:19 PM

    So how are we defining ‘franchhises’ now?

    Are we ignoring the 70+ year of Senator baseball? The other 12 of the expansion Senators? Has it been decided the history of the Expos only counts in Canada?

    I’m kind of missing how Zimmerman could have a franchise record.

    • RedHeadedBastard - Mar 27, 2011 at 12:54 PM

      No one is ignoring the franhises of Washington. There have been 3 since 1905. The original Senators were in D.C. from 1905-1960 and won the World Series in 1924. Calvin Griffin struck a deal with MLB to allow him to take the Senators and Senators history to Minnesota in 1961 and they became the Twins. D.C. was rewarded with the expansion team that became the second version of the Nationals. The second version left D.C. in 1971 and became the Texas Rangers. When the Expos were moved to D.C. they became the Nationals (obviously) and still have the Expos history and records. Zimmerman’s “record” mearly indicates that he has the most games played under The Washington Nationals name, nothing more. The Nationals still honor the history of baseball in D.C. but cant claim to have won a World Series or have any of the team specific history that the Twins and Rangers still own.

      • simon94022 - Mar 27, 2011 at 5:59 PM

        If we’re going to get technical about it, the 1961 “expansion” team was supposed to be a continuation of the 1901-1960 franchise, keeping the team history, name, and records while the Griffiths took the player contracts and hard assets with them to the Minnesota expansion franchise. The Griffiths never really acceptedthis arrangement, and had to be slapped down by the American League in about 1964. But when Bob Short moved the Senators to Texas in 1971, he had no interest in the franchise’s history, so the Griffith-owned Twins were able to resume marketing themselves as one of the American League’s “original” franchises, which they are not.

        I see no reason why the Nationals shouldn’t claim and celebrate the legacy of the Walter Johnson teams. And those teams, by the way, were known exclusively as the “Nationals” in their day. The Senators nickname emerged later and was officially adopted only in the mid-1950s.

      • The Baseball Idiot - Mar 27, 2011 at 7:09 PM

        Thanks, but I didn’t really need the history lesson. I already know it. Still doesn’t answer my questions.

      • RedHeadedBastard - Mar 27, 2011 at 8:01 PM

        @ simon94022

        I agree with you about the Nationals celebrating the history of baseball in D.C. Nationals Park has many tributes to the past teams including statues of Bob Gibson, Walter Johnson and Frank Howard sitting in the Center Field Plaza. They just cant claim to any of the records or titles that belong to the original 2 franchises. It sucks, i would to see the 1924 World Series trophy @ Nationals Park.

        @ baseball Idiot

        Zimmerman’s only franchise record currently is for Most Pitches Seen. What record are you talking about?

      • BC - Mar 28, 2011 at 11:04 AM

        Calling the Minnesota Twins as an original AL franchise is a load of bleep, as is having them lay claim to the Senators’ history. It would be like the Orioles claiming the St. Louis Browns history. Garbage.

  4. Old Gator - Mar 27, 2011 at 1:18 PM

    They can, however, claim to have been so thoroughly bled, beaten to a pulp and defenestrated by Scrooge McLoria that it became possible to move the entire franchise from Montreal to DC in a tin pail.

    • RedHeadedBastard - Mar 27, 2011 at 1:21 PM

      True. So very, very true.

    • jwbiii - Mar 27, 2011 at 11:30 PM

      Don’t forget that Peter Angelos got his pound of flesh via their MASN TV contract.

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