May 28, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (11) stands outside of the batting cage prior to the game against the Miami Marlins at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Zimmerman claimed that his workouts in the outfield were simply a conditioning exercise, but he was either lying or doing his best to keep something from the media.
Alas, the media has won.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Washington Nationals have plans to play Zimmerman at multiple positions when he returns from the disabled list. He’ll play at the hot corner—his usual position—while also seeing time across the diamond at first base and even in left field.
League sources told Heyman that the Nats could be setting up Zimmerman to be a multi-positional star, similar to Tampa Bay Rays star Ben Zobrist.
Such a rotation would benefit both Zimmerman and the entirety of the team. For one, it will limit Zimmerman’s throws from third—something that has plagued him recently. Limiting throws might allow him to rest that shoulder and focus more at the plate. He was hitting .364 through 10 games before landing on the DL.
With Zimmerman in left, the Nats will have several options. They can rest a guy like Kevin Frandsen or Nate McLouth, or they can bring Frandsen in to play second base and keep Anthony Rendon at third.
Of course, when Bryce Harper returns, Zimmerman’s time in left could be limited.
Playing first will give Adam LaRoche the occasional day off, though I predict Zimmerman will only play first in American League parks. With the DH in order, the Nats can then keep LaRoche in the lineup.
The benefits of this move are obvious. Zimmerman himself as always said that he would do anything to help his team win, and reiterated that to the DC media on Tuesday: “Like I’ve always said, I’ll do whatever they ask if that’s what’s best for the team … I’ll do whatever.”
Maybe the change of scenery will do Zimmerman and the Nats some good. Currently 25-26, the Nats need to try whatever they think might help put more curly W’s on the board.