Nats Lock Up Zimmerman

Paul RaymondCorrespondent IApril 20, 2009

WASHINGTON - APRIL 13:  Ryan Zimmerman #11 of the Washington Nationals walks towards the dugout during the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Nationals Park on April 13, 2009 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Ryan Zimmerman is one of the only solid players the Washington Nationals have on their roster, and they made sure he’s not going anywhere. The Washington Post is reporting that the two sides agreed on a five-year extension worth approximately $45 million. The deal goes into effect immediately and overrides Ryan’s current $3.325 million salary.

This is being called a five-year extension but it’s essentially just two. The reason? Zimmerman wasn’t available for free agency till 2011. So the deal buys out Zimmerman’s last two seasons of arbitration and his first two years of free agency. Not a bad deal for the player when you consider his performance over the last couple seasons.

Zimmerman had a superb rookie season in 2006, batting .287 with 47 doubles, 20 homeruns and 110 RBI. Unfortunately for the Nats everything has been downhill since then. There hasn’t been a huge drop off but it’s enough to make one wonder if he can be the star many thought he could be.

MLB&hl=260027&rwr=1&id=4155" target="blank">Rotoworld.com broke down the salary by looking at what he could of made throughout the years. They say he would probably of earned a $15 million combined during his arbitration years, meaning the Nats would be paying Ryan about $13 million per season in 2012 and 2013.

The real question is this, does this deal benefit the Nationals? Will Zimmerman be worth that kind of money? It’s very possible.

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In my opinion, the main knock on Zimmerman was his low on base percentage and his propensity to strikeout.

He’s averaged about 5.3 at-bats per strikeout over his career which is not that good at all. In 2009, he’s averaging 4.7. Despite his high strikeout total he’s got some impressive numbers so far with two homers, 9 rbis and a .277 avg in just 49 plate appearances. So basically if he can improve that ratio he could definitely become a very solid hitter.

What I do think makes this deal beneficial to the team is Zimmerman’s attitude. Ryan plays hard and has a good attitude. Even more impressive, he enjoys playing in Washington D.C. and being part of the Nationals organization.

“It just gets to the point where you think, ‘How much [money] do you really need? How much do you need, and do you really want to be here?’ I think that’s the most important thing,” Zimmerman said earlier this year. “The whole point of being a free agent and having a negotiating power is to play where you want to want to play. And I don’t really need to go into that. I’m happy here.”

How can you let a player go who enjoys being a Nat? You just can’t. Now let’s just hope it works out for them.