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Quite a Coincidence for Washington Nationals: One Career Ends, One Gets Extended

WASHINGTON - AUG 4:  Brad Wilkerson #7 of the Washington Nationals is congratulated by Nick Johnson #24 after hitting the first ever Washington Nationals grand slam home run during the 8th inning of a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers August 4, 2005 at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC.  (Photo By Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Cheryl NicholsContributor IApril 20, 2009

After another game slipped through our hands on Sunday, changes were made. Much of the news from the clubhouse last night was expected.

Better news followed. Ryan Zimmerman and the Nats reached agreement on a long-term contract! It is reported as a five-year, $45 million contract extension. A press conference is scheduled for 4 p.m. today. Great news for the team and fans that he will be around for several more years.

It was a busy and newsy Sunday night in the Natosphere. After reeling from the disappointing losses and bullpen makeover, there was another piece of news that trickled in.

Former Montreal Expo and Washington National Brad Wilkerson retired yesterday to end his eight-year career. He leaves behind a .247 average, .350 on-base percentage, and 122 home runs in his big league career.



Ryan Zimmerman is the "Face of the Franchise" ("FOF") for the Washington Nationals. On the day the Nationals' current FOF was getting a contract extension, our previous FOF was calling it quits.

Wilkerson, 31, was only in DC for the inaugural season, but he was definitely a fan favorite. He was selected by the Montreal Expos in the first round of the 1998 amateur draft and was with the Expos/Nationals until Dec. 2005, when he was part of the Alfonso Soriano trade with the Texas Rangers (along with Armando Galarraga and Terrmel Sledge).

Wilkerson spent two years with the Rangers, was signed by the Seattle Mariners as a free agent in Jan. 2008 (and then released in May), and then signed with the Toronto Blue Jays as a free agent in May 2008.

The Boston Red Sox signed him as a free agent in Feb. 2009 and, until yesterday, he was on the Pawtucket roster (AAA Red Sox).

Wilkerson secured his historic tie to the Nationals by getting the club's first hit on Opening Day in Philadelphia on Apr. 4, 2005, as well as the Nationals' first cycle, the second in his career.

Congratulations, Ryan, and best of luck, Brad!

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