What’s next for ‘Mr. National’ Ryan Zimmerman?
“Now it’s a decision of: Do I want to keep doing that or do I want to be around my family a little bit more?” said Zimmerman, who slashed .243/.286/.471 in 2021, with 14 homers and 46 RBI in 273 plate appearances, with a WAR of 1.2.
I was at Nationals Park for the season finale on Sunday, and it sure seemed that Zim – who got the start at first base, against Boston starting lefty Chris Sale, and worked a bases-loaded walk in three plate appearances – had indicated something to somebody ahead of the game.
Nats manager Davey Martinez made a nice show of sending Zimmerman back out to first base for the top of the eighth, then replaced him with Josh Bell, allowing Zimmerman to exit to the adulation of the home crowd and, in a nice gesture, the Red Sox, who stood outside the dugout as a group to join in the cheers.
It wouldn’t be for the money that Zimmerman would return – according to baseball-reference.com, he has earned just short of $138.5 million over his playing career.
I’d be of two minds on this if it was me where he is. It doesn’t look like the Nats are going to be a contender in 2022, though in the weak NL East, everybody is a contender on Opening Day, so, there’s that.
If you assume that, over 162 games, the Nationals aren’t going to be in the mix, does the pull of family weigh more than one more time around the league?
The other side to this is, if I’m Rizzo, having Zimmerman around for somewhere near what he was paid in 2021, $1 million, I’d be thrilled to have him as a clubhouse leader for a young roster to learn from.
If I’m Zim in that respect …
Once you’re done being a baseball player, you’re done being a baseball player.
You can be an ex-ballplayer the rest of your life.
Story by Chris Graham