After being placed on the injured list with yet another longlasting injury on April 28, Washington Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman has an unclear future.
When you think of the face of the Washington Nationals, you think of Ryan Zimmerman. You don’t get the nickname “Mr. Walkoff” unless you are doing something right, and for the first eight years of his Major League career, Zimmerman did a whole lot of things right.
In his first full Major League season in 2006, Zimmerman finished second in National League Rookie of The Year voting, hitting .287 with 20 home runs and 110 runs batted in. He followed that up by playing all 162 games in 2007, once again hitting 20 plus home runs and driving in 94 on the year.
Zimmerman was so durable at the start of his career that over his first eight seasons in Washington, he appeared in less than 142 games just two times. In now his fifteenth season in the nation’s capital, the narrative is the complete opposite, and Zimmerman is broken without a remedy in sight.
Coming into the season there was a lot of pressure on Zimmerman’s shoulders to perform. The veteran was unable to stay healthy in a down 2018 season and was only able to play in just 85 games. When he was on the field, Zimmerman posted solid production, but just staying available to play has been Zimmerman’s kryptonite over the past few years.
Since 2014 Zimmerman has only been able to play in more than 115 games on time, which was his All-Star season in 2017. That year Zimmerman hit 36 home runs to go with 108 runs batted in and was a big part in the Nationals winning 97 games and the National League East.
Flash forward to present day 2019 and Zimmerman could not look further from the guy we saw make an All-Star team just two years ago. After injuring his foot in Colorado in late April, Zimmerman was placed on the injured list with plantar fasciitis.
Zimmerman seemed confident he would return quicker than the seven weeks it took him last time he came down with the same injury, but as we are about to enter week eight of him hitting the IL, there seems to be no clear return in sight. The 34-year-old said this injury is one of the more frustrating things he has ever gone through in his carer.
“It’s been really frustrating. It’s been probably one of the more frustrating things I’ve gone through. Just because the rest of my body feels so good. I felt good this year up until the point where the heel started acting up. And there’s nothing you can really do to prevent something like this.” -quote via Mark Zuckerman of MASN.
Now 34 years old and in a contract year, the future of Ryan Zimmerman is one thing for sure, unclear. Washington currently holds an $18 million club option on Zimmerman’s contract at the of this season which they will certainly decline. This begs the question, will Washington want to bring Zimmerman back in 2020?
As the face of the franchise, parting ways with Zimmerman would not be easy, but there is a real chance we could be seeing the last of “Mr. Walkoff” in a Nationals’ uniform. With his injury history and inability to play anywhere other than first base, Washington really would have no use for Zimmerman unless he came back on an extremely team-friendly contract.
Part of the journey is the end, and we may be witnessing the final days of Ryan Zimmerman as a Washington National. For all he has done for this franchise, the Z-Man deserves a standing O. Mr. Walkoff will never be forgotten, even if his time here is almost up.