Tag:Ryan Zimmerman
Posted on: February 27, 2012 10:03 pm
Edited on: February 29, 2012 12:33 pm
 

Spring primer: Washington Nationals



By Matt Snyder


The Washington Nationals have never had a winning record. They finished 81-81 in 2005 but came in last. Then they dipped all the way down to consecutive 59-win seasons before winning 69 in 2010 and going 80-81 last season. So is 2012 the time for the first Nationals winning season -- and possibly more? Unfortunately for the Nats, they play in one of the toughest divisions in baseball. Fortunately for the Nats, they are improved from last season's third-place team.

Danny Knobler's camp report: Harper decision might make all the difference | Likes, dislikes

Major additions: LHP Gio Gonzalez, RHP Edwin Jackson, RHP Brad Lidge
Major departures: OF Layne Nix, RHP Livan Hernandez, RHP Todd Coffey

Probable lineup
1. Ian Desmond, SS
2. Jayson Werth, RF
3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B
4. Michael Morse, LF
5. Adam LaRoche, 1B
6. Danny Espinosa, 2B
7. Wilson Ramos, C
8. Roger Bernadina, CF

Probable rotation
1. Stephen Strasburg
2. Gio Gonzalez
3. Jordan Zimmerman
4. Edwin Jackson
5. Chien-Ming Wang

John Lannan is also a possibility as the fifth starter, and remember Strasburg is on a 160-inning limit this season.

Back-end bullpen
Closer: Drew Storen
Set-up: Tyler Clippard, Brad Lidge

Important bench players

C Jesus Flores, IF/OF Mark DeRosa, OF Rick Ankiel

Prospect to watch
C'mon. You know who. We've all been watching Bryce Harper since he was about 15, and from everything said in camp it sounds like 2012 is the year we see him in the majors. Will he break camp with the club? Only if they're ready to play him everyday, which means Werth is shoved to center. I believe the Nationals would have to be 100 percent convinced Harper was ready to star right now, otherwise there's no reason to do so -- especially since the defense would suffer as a result. More likely, an injury or underperformance opens the door sometime in May or June. Regardless, scouts collectively believe Harper is an elite-level superstar when he does stick in the majors. Anthony Rendon bears watching as well, but not to the extent of Harper.

Fantasy breakout: Jordan Zimmermann
"One could argue that in his first full season back from Tommy John surgery Zimmermann had already broken out. Last year the 25-year-old posted a 3.18 ERA and 1.15 WHIP and only an innings limit kept him from being a top 40 starting pitcher. This season, Zimmermann won't be curtailed in terms of his workload, and better yet, there is room for him to perform better even on a per-inning basis. He averaged slightly less than seven strikeouts per nine innings in 2011, not meeting the standard he set prior to his surgery but he started to miss a lot more bats over his final 10 starts. Over that span, Zimmermann got to strike three 53 times in 58 2/3 innings. With more innings and a higher K-rate likely this season, look for Zimmermann to emerge as a No. 3 starting pitcher in mixed leagues." - Al Melchior [Full Nationals fantasy team preview]

Fantasy bust Jayson Werth
"Leaving a homer-friendly ballpark in Philadelphia behind, many expected Werth to have a down year in 2011, but the worst may be yet to come. Park factors may have worked against Werth with his move to Washington but even before he signed with the Nationals he was facing a steady decline in his home run per flyball ratio. While Werth's home run power seems to be evaporating the 46 doubles he hit in 2010 was merely an outlier as he has never hit more than 26 in a season barring that one year." - Al Melchior [Full Nationals fantasy team preview]

Optimistic outlook
Every player plays like he's capable and the Nationals don't have a major weakness. The offense has the potential to be strong top-to-bottom, with great starting pitching -- Edwin Jackson proving to be the best No. 4 in the league -- and a lock-down back-end of the bullpen. If everything comes together like it can, the Nationals would make the playoffs. They may not be able to win the toughest division in the National League, but with a possibility of two wild cards on the table -- seriously, Bud, how long until this is decided?!? -- there's certainly no reason to count out the Nats.

Pessimistic outlook
While there are good hitters in the lineup, the lack of an elite slugger in addition to a hole in center field holds the offense back. Werth's struggles bleed into 2012, Zimmerman again can't stay healthy and the pitching staff is plagued by Gonzalez's control issues and Jackson's inconsistency -- not to mention Strasburg's inning limit. Playing in the mighty NL East, the Nationals come in fourth or even last, with the Mets surprising and jumping over them.

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Posted on: February 26, 2012 9:24 am
Edited on: February 26, 2012 4:11 pm
 

Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals agree on extension



By Matt Snyder


The Washington Nationals have agreed to sign third baseman Ryan Zimmerman to a six-year, $100 million contract extension, CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman has confirmed. Zimmerman's current five-year, $45 million deal doesn't expire until after the 2013 season, so this extension takes him through the 2019 season, and there's a $24 million club option for the 2020 season. Zimmerman also agreed to have $10 million deferred as a personal services fee, meaning the amount won't count toward the Nationals payroll -- there is no salary cap, but there's a luxury tax. The contract also contains a full no-trade clause, the inclusion of which had previously been a sticking point for Zimmerman.

Nationals spring training
The deal is the second-largest in MLB history for a third baseman, after Alex Rodriguez's current contract (A-Rod's first megadeal came when he was a shortstop). Zimmerman is now one of just six players signed through 2019, joining Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Troy Tulowitzki, Ryan Braun and Matt Kemp.

"All along, all I've wanted is to be able to stay with the Nationals, which I consider my hometown team, and help the franchise become a winner while also being compensated fairly," Zimmerman said Saturday night, before the extension was complete. "While nothing is finalized, I am confident that we can reach an agreement that will accompish all those things. I'm from Virginia, I was drafted by the Nationals and I've seen this organization make great progress since I signed here. I want to see it through to the ultimate goal of winning a World Series."

More from Zimmerman on being from the area: "That was the whole point of this thing from the beginning," he said (MASNSports.com). "I love playing here and I love the organization, but it's always been like this from day one when I started playing here - how I'm lucky to be in this position to be so close to my family, to kind of be in the area where I grew up, where I went to school. I enjoy playing here."

He also added that signing the extension was a "relief."

Zimmerman, 27, was the Nationals' first-round draft pick in 2005 -- the club's first year in Washington -- out of the University of Virginia and made his big-league debut late that season. He then finished second in the 2006 NL Rookie of the Year voting and has since been an All-Star while winning both the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger. He hit .289/.355/.443 with 12 homers and 49 RBI in 101 games in 2011, as he was hampered by an abdominal injury. The previous season, he hit .307/.388/.510 with 25 homers and in 2009 he had 33 homers, 106 RBI and 110 runs scored.

The Nationals now have a young core of players locked up for several years, including Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Gio Gonzalez, Bryce Harper, Drew Storen, Danny Espinosa and Wilson Ramos.

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Posted on: February 25, 2012 11:26 pm
 

Zimmerman, Nats inch closer to extension

Ryan Zimmerman

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Ryan Zimmerman's 10 a.m. deadline passed with a contract extension with the Nationals and it appears his Saturday deadline will, as well. But that doesn't mean the two sides won't get a deal done.

Saturday night, Zimmerman's agent, Brodie Van Wagenen, said the two sides were close to a deal. Zimmerman is expected to sign an extension worth approximately $18 million per year -- but that was never the sticking point. Instead of money, Zimmerman wanted a no-trade clause that would keep the 27-year-old Virginia native in Washington.

"We have made significant progress on an extension for Ryan that would ensure he plays for the Nationals for a long time, which has always been Ryan's goal," Van Wagenen said. "We are working on a structure that will allow the team to continue to add talent and establish a winner, which is another goal of Ryan's.

"While there are still important aspects to work through, we bridged multiple important gaps on many major parts of a contract. Nothing is done until it is done, but both sides are optimistic than an agreement can be reached and Ryan can focus his energies on preparing with his teammates for the season."

Zimmerman has said he didn't want the extension -- which at one point this offseason Nats GM Mike Rizzo said was the team's top offseason priority -- to interfere with the team's preparation for the season. The team held its first full-squad workout on Saturday.

"All along, all I've wanted is to be able to stay with the Nationals, which I consider my hometown team, and help the franchise become a winner while also being compensated fairly," Zimmerman said. "While nothing is finalized, I am confident that we can reach an agreement that will accompish all those things. I'm from Virginia, I was drafted by the Nationals and I've seen this organization make great progress since I signed here. I want to see it through to the ultimate goal of winning a World Series."

Zimmerman was adamant that he receive a no-trade clause since he was willing to give the hometown discount. Jayson Werth received a no-trade clause in his monster deal last winter, while Mark Buehrle and Prince Fielder were reportedly offered no-trade clauses as part of the offers made to those free agents this winter.

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Posted on: February 25, 2012 2:39 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2012 4:21 pm
 

Nats, Zimmerman extend extension talks

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The beauty of a self-imposed deadline is that it's pretty easy to ignore it if you want to do so.

Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said his representatives and Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo continued their contract extension past the 10 a.m. deadline Zimmerman had set, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.

Zimmerman said the two sides had "a couple of little hurdles" remaining, and the main sticking point is still Zimmerman's request for a no-trade clause. "Something creative to ensure me I'll be here," Zimmerman said.

The sides have agreed on money, which CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman reported is roughly $18 million per year, but Zimmerman said he only wanted to take the deal if it was guaranteed he'd be staying in Washington. Heyman said Zimmerman's side offered a "creative" solution to the impasse. Zimmerman, 27, is signed through 2013.

The new deadline, is the end of the day, Zimmerman said -- unless it's not.

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Posted on: February 24, 2012 12:14 pm
 

Nats, Zimmerman divided on no-trade clause

Ryan Zimmerman

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Ryan Zimmerman would like to have his contract settled by Saturday morning, giving the Nationals a deadline, he told reporters, including CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman.

The last stick point is a no-trade clause -- something the Nationals gave Jayson Werth and it's believed they offered to free-agents Mark Buehrle and Prince Fielder this offseason.

Zimmerman, 27, will make $12 million this season and $14 million in 2013. According to Heyman, the money involved in the extension isn't the issue. If the sides can agree to a deal, it's expected to be for about $18 million per season, according to Heyman.

That, to the Zimmerman camp, is seen as a team-friendly deal, which is why he'd want the no-trade clause. If Zimmerman, a Virginia native, is taking less money to stay with the Nationals, he wants to be assured he will be able to stay with the Nationals.

"The important part of me signing this deal is to be here, not to sign a deal that's team-friendly to have it with another team," Zimmerman said (via the Washington Post). "That's the whole point of doing it. … I wouldn't sign a deal like this for the Red Sox or the Yankees or the Dodogers or any other team."

Zimmerman has said he set the deadline so that it doesn't become a distraction as the team prepares for the season. Because Zimmerman is signed through the 2013 season, he said it's not crucial that he gets an extension now.

"If it happens, I'm thrilled," Zimmerman said (via the Washington Post). "If not, I've got two years left here still. I'm excited for this year. We've got a great team. We've got a chance to do something special, something we've not done with this organization. I think all of us are kind of ready to get to work and get going.

"It's not like this is the last year. It's not make-or-break. Getting this done would obviously make them not have to worry about it this year or next year or next offseason."

Any no-trade clause would need to be only for the first three seasons. By the third season, he would gain no-trade rights by being a 10-year veteran with five years with his current team.

If the Nationals don't sign Zimmerman and allow him to leave after the 2013 season, that could be just the time needed for 2011 first-round Anthony Rendon to be ready to take over at third base. If Zimmerman does stay, he could move to first base at some point to make room for Rendon. Of course, there's also no guarantee Rendon pans out, either.

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Posted on: February 20, 2012 7:37 pm
 

Rendon, Zimmerman not battling at third base, yet



By Matt Snyder


Much of the attention in Nationals camp this spring will focus on the likes of Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper and Gio Gonzalez. There will surely be talk of Jayson Werth, Wilson Ramos and Mike Morse for varying reasons as well. But a major storyline that's lying in the weeds and could be an issue as soon as 2013 is Ryan Zimmerman vs. 2011 first-round pick Anthony Rendon at third base.

Rendon, 21, is a third baseman by trade, though he had played second base some in college, too. Speculation from many of the scouting websites (Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, etc.) have him being big-league ready very soon, as early as the start of the 2013 season. And they also say he's best suited for third base, even a plus defender there, while he'd be below average at second or short.

Of course, in Zimmerman, the Nationals have a 27-year-old third baseman who has won a Gold Glove. The issue, however, is that Zimmerman regressed on defense in 2011. Injuries hampered his range (Fangraphs.com's UZR/150 score for Zimmerman was 17.8 in 2010 and -4.4 in 2011) and he had to develop a new throwing motion to try and protect himself from further injury. That new throwing motion caused accuracy issues, too. The Nats Blog made a good case a few weeks ago that Zimmerman could easily be the Nationals' first baseman of the future, with Rendon sliding right in at third.

For now, Zimmerman is saying all the right things.

“I think I want to play third base until someone is better than me at it,” Zimmerman said (Nationals Journal). “I think there’s teams that move people. I’ve said it all along — I want to be here as long as I can. I want to play my whole career here. If that means me playing third base for five more years and then moving somewhere because someone is better than me at third and it’ll help us win, then I’ll do it. If that means me playing third base for 10 years and then going to first base or wherever, then I’ll do it. I don’t care."

Rendon will be getting reps at third base, shortstop and second base in camp, and he gave the requisite due to Zimmerman.

“Oh, yeah, sure, he’s going to be here a long time, I’m pretty sure,” Rendon said (Nationals Journal). “He’s an all-star. He’s a great player. I’m not coming here to take anything away from him. He’s set in stone. I’m not trying to ruin that.”

It's very interesting to think about all the options moving forward, depending upon how things shake out. If Rendon pans out at second, Danny Espinosa could shift to shortstop and take out Ian Desmond. If Rendon needs to be at third and Zimmerman's health issues at third continue, Zimmerman could shift across the diamond. Of course, then the Nationals have nowhere to move Mike Morse when they acquire an upgrade in center field and have Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper at the corners.

This is all just something to think about, with no immediate urgency. Regardless, if Rendon develops into an All-Star-caliber bat -- as many believe he will -- Washington has a very nice problem on its hands.

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Posted on: December 12, 2011 11:49 am
Edited on: December 12, 2011 11:56 am
 

Homegrown Team: Nationals/Expos



By Matt Snyder


What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.

We continue the series today with the Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos. Yeah, remember them -- the best team in baseball in 1994 before the strike ended the season without a World Series? If you don't, you'll need to be reminded of a certain Bartolo Colon trade, which ended up being awful for the Expos, who got 17 starts from Colon after coughing up three future All-Stars for him. What we see is a team that looks pretty good, but has loads of young talent either already developing in the bigs or soon to be arriving.

Lineup

1. Grady Sizemore, CF
2. Brandon Phillips, 2B
3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B
4. Vladimir Guerrero, RF
5. Jason Bay, LF
6. Danny Espinosa, 1B
7. Ian Desmond, SS
8. Brian Schneider, C

Starting Rotation

1. Cliff Lee
2. Stephen Strasburg
3. Jordan Zimmermann
4. Javier Vazquez
5. John Lannan

Bullpen

Closer - Drew Storen
Set up - Bill Bray, Craig Stammen, Collin Balester, Miguel Batista
Long - Armando Galarraga, Brad Peacock, Tom Milone, Ross Detwiler

Notable Bench Players

Bryce Harper, Chris Marrero, Wilson Valdez, Anthony Rendon, Jamey Carroll, Orlando Cabrera, Geoff Blum and Roger Bernadina.

What's Good?

The starting rotation is really good, especially if you start to think about the future. Much like the real Nats, Peacock, Milone and Detwiler all have the potential to break through and really make this a strong top-to-bottom rotation. Here, you have a perennial Cy Young candidate sitting at the top, too. The batting order definitely has the potential to be good, but there are a lot of question marks, so we can't really be overly excited about it. But, much like with the rotation, there is some serious potential on the way in Harper and Rendon. Finally, the bench is really good. This team has depth.

And in case you're curious, the three All-Stars the Expos gave up for Colon were Sizemore, Phillips and Lee. None of the three had made their major-league debut at the time of the trade.

What's Not?

If we were really going to stick Vlad in right field, we'd have to pray no one hit the ball out there. Should I have gotten more creative and put Vlad at first, moving Espinosa out to right? Maybe. We could move Vlad to 1B and throw Harper into the fire, play Bernadina in the outfield and move Vlad to first or just bench Guerrero. I'm open to any idea, but the idea I used was to maximize the offense. Hey, it worked when the Cardinals put Lance Berkman in right this past real season, right? Also, Schneider is a pretty bad catching option at this point, but there were zero other options on current 40-man rosters or in free agency in the MLB (which is what we used to build these rosters). Finally, the bullpen is very thin in front of Storen in the late innings.

Comparison to real 2011

The real-life Nats are just on the cusp of breaking through, though it'll be tough in the stacked NL East. These Nats would be a bit better with the legitimate ace Lee and a great bench. Maybe mid-80s in wins, but with tons of help on the way. Much like with the real Nats, it's kind of a "watch out next year" type deal -- with the likes of Harper, Rendon, Peacock and Milone waiting in the wings while Strasburg, Zimmermann, Storen, Espinosa et al continue to get better.

Next: Boston Red Sox

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Posted on: September 19, 2011 11:56 pm
Edited on: September 20, 2011 12:26 am
 

Picking the National League's best defenders



By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Gold Gloves are one of baseball's toughest awards to decide -- and sometimes toughest to understand. Unlike many of the game's other awards, the Gold Gloves are voted on by managers and coaches, and every year it seems there's a winner or two that seems to win the award more with their bat than their glove.

Not only do some players seem to win it with something other than their glove, sometimes the award can be a lot like the Supreme Court, once you get elected, you're not going to lose your seat.

That said, it's a difficult award to vote for. There are better fielding statistics coming out every year, yet most are still in their infancy and can tell you only so much. Good defense, sometimes can be a lot like the definition Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart gave for pornograpy in Jacobelis v. Ohio in 1964: "I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embrued within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it." 

With that in mind, perhaps the voters for the Gold Gloves should be the scouts, but instead I'll try my hand at picking out the best defensive players in the National League.

Catcher: Yadier Molina, Cardinals

As tough as it is to use numbers to evaluate fielders, it's even tougher with catchers. At least the numbers with other fielders have some meaning, with catchers there's so much more to what they do defensively that it's hard not to go on reputation -- and nobody has a better reputation than Molina.

Others considered: Carlos Ruiz, Phillies; Brian McCann, Braves.

First base: Joey Votto, Reds

When Votto was coming up, people knew he could hit -- that was hard to ignore -- but his reputation at first base was nowhere near as good. Even as a rookie, he often struggled, especially on throws to a pitcher covering first. Since then, he's improved every year and this year he has proven himself to be the best defensive first baseman in the league. Votto, last year's MVP, covers more ground at first than any other first baseman in the league, which means it can be tough to get a hit if you hit it on the ground to the right side of the Reds infield, beacuse of the next guy on the list.

Others considered: Albert Pujols, Cardinals. Todd Helton, Rockies.

Brandon PhillipsSecond base: Brandon Phillips, Reds

A two-time Gold Glover, Phillips should be in line for his third. There may be no other player in baseball with as long of a highlight-reel as Phillips, who seemingly makes another amazing play every night.

Others considered: Chase Utley, Phillies, Omar Infante, Marlins, Neil Walker, Pirates

Third base: Pablo Sandoval, Giants

There are players with better defensive reputations than the Kung Fu Panda, but nobody's had a better year. The advanced stats don't tell you everything yet, but they're still pretty good. Sandoval leads qualified National League third basemen in UZR (12.3), UZR/150 (21.2) and plus-minus (20). 

Others considered: Placido Polanco, Phillies; Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals.

Shortstop: Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies

The Rockies may know a little something about drafting defensive shortstops -- they picked two of the best in the league, Tulowitzki and the Astros' Clint Barmes. Finally healthy, Barmes was outstanding defensively for the Astros, while Tulowitzki seems like the second coming of Cal Ripken. 

Others considered: Alex Gonzalez, Braves; Jose Reyes, Mets; Clint Barmes, Astros.

Left field: Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies

The voting has changed this year to award Gold Gloves to each of the three outfield positions instead of three generic outfielder awards that usually went to center fielders. Carlos Gonzalez is tough to categorize, but considering he's played more games in left than any other spot, he's the easy choice here. He's started 60 games in left, 34 in right and 28 in center. He's played all three well, which isn't easy at spacious Coors Field, committing only one error on the season.

Others considered: Matt Holliday, Cardinals. Gerardo Parra, Diamondbacks. Tony Gwynn, Dodgers.

Shane VictorinoCenter field: Shane Victorino, Phillies

This is one stacked category, with several deserving players. Under the old rules it would be easy, you'd have three center fielders and give them the three Gold Gloves. Under the new rules, it's a tougher choice. Victorino has had an MVP-type year, and no small part of that has been patrolling center field for the Phillies. The Flyin' Hawaiian is as good as anyone out there and his error-less season gives him the edge.

Others considered: Chris Young, Diamondbacks; Carlos Gomez, Brewers; Cameron Maybin, Padres; Rick Ankiel, Nationals; Andrew McCutchen, Pirates.

Right field: Mike Stanton, Marlins

He may be known best for the moon shots off his bat, but Stanton is a surprisingly good defensive outfielder. Stanton has the combination of athleticism and arm strength to be the best defensive right fielder in the game.

Others considered: Jay Bruce, Reds; Carlos Beltran, Giants; Jason Heyward, Braves.

Pitcher: R.A. Dickey, Mets

A knuckleball pitcher needs to field his position well -- there are plenty of bad hits coming back to the mound off poor contact. Dickey has been very good fielding his position and helped his team with his glove.

Others considered: Jake Westbrook, Cardinals; Bronson Arroyo, Reds; Hiroki Kuroda, Dodgers; Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers; Derek Lowe, Braves.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com