Now that he’s set to play for the Washington Nationals this campaign, Ryan Zimmerman might stick around a little longer, too.
Zimmerman and the Nationals made it official Saturday, revealing his $1 million, one-year contract. The deal came after the Nats’ longest-tenured player opted out of the coronavirus-shortened 2020 season.
“If I can settle into this role and do well this year, by no means does this have to be my last year,” Zimmerman said on a video call with reporters. “At least that’s the way I’m looking at it.”
Zimmerman, 36, is a two-time All-Star and bats right-handed. His playing time likely will diminish after Washington traded for switch-hitting first baseman Josh Bell from Pittsburgh last month.
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It’s still unclear whether the National League will employ the designated hitter this year. It was used as part of the new rules added for the virus-abbreviated season.
Zimmerman, however, wasn’t looking for a new chance in another city.
“Playing anywhere else would be really weird. Wouldn’t really be worth it,” he said.
Zimmerman has played 15 seasons in the majors, all for the Nationals.
They took him with their first pick in the 2005 draft soon after moving from Montreal to Washington.
Zimmerman boosted the franchise to its World Series championship in 2019. He didn’t play last year, choosing to sit out because of concerns about his family’s health during the pandemic. His mother has multiple sclerosis; he and his wife had their third child last year.
“Me coming back this year was in no means for like a victory-lap sort of thing,” he said. “This is about coming back because I still think I can play the game at a high level, and I still think I can help the team win.”
The Nationals went 26-34 last season, tied with the Mets for last in the NL East.
Zimmerman batted .257 with six homers and 27 RBIs in 171 at-bats in 2019. He is a career .279 hitter with 270 home runs and 1,015 RBIs.
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