Two-time All-Star and 2019 World Champion Ryan Zimmerman He announced his retirement from Major League Baseball today. The decision marks the end of a 17-year MLB career that has been spent entirely as a member of the Nationals.
Zimmerman released a statement via his agency CAA Baseball, the full scope of which can be found on Twitter. Here, the 37-year-old thanks Washington’s fan base, natives’ property and front office, former teammates, coaches/coaching staff and agents, and his family. “Although my baseball career is over, my family and I will continue to participate strongly in the DMV community. You have given us so much over the past 17 years; Now is the time to return the favor to you. We look forward to continuing many of our community programs and starting new ones in the future. Our kids will be growing up here, because this is our home now, and we couldn’t be more excited. So this isn’t a goodbye but more of a “see you around.”
The franchise made the switch from the Expos to the Nationals during the 2004-05 off-season, moving from Montreal to Washington. That summer, they selected Zimmerman with the fourth general selection from the University of Virginia. The first National Official Rookie, the right-handed hitter would make his debut in the major tournaments just two months later. He started his MLB career spanning nearly two decades and established him as one of the most important players in franchise history.
Zimmermann had a successful September call-up in 2005, and was named to the starting line-up at the beginning of the following year. Immediately, he proved himself to be a high-quality all-around performer. He hit .287/ .351/ .471 as a Novice, pairing that above-average offensive output with an excellent third base defense. Finished narrowly behind Hanley Ramirez in the NL Rookie of the Year poll for this season, but Zimmerman picked up some awards before long.
Between 2007 and 2008, he scored slightly above average offensive marks while continuing to rank as one of the league’s top hot corner glove men. However, his career really took off in 2009, when Zimmermann made significant strides in both power production and walk rate on his way to the .292/.364/.525 offering. That netted 30 percentage points above the league’s average offensive performance (130 wRC+), and Zimmerman earned his first All-Star, Silver Slugger Award and Gold Glove while earning some MVP support in the polls.
Not only did he back up this hack the following season, he arguably got even better. Zimmerman hit .307/ .388/ .510 that year, and collected another Silver Slugger and a few MVP votes. Despite the awards, it may have been underestimated a bit during that two-year period as the team faltered in a pair from last place. Only five players in the center (Albert PujolsAnd Evan LongoriaAnd Joe MawrAnd Carl Crawford And Chase UtleyZimmerman was topped by FanGraphs’ Wins Above Replacement on a scale between 2009-10.
Zimmerman had signed a career contract extension early before it broke out in 2009, locking him up as a cornerstone of a franchise that finally emerged from a long-term rebuild a few years into 2010. He didn’t fully maintain his form in 2009-10 when he reached his late twenties of his age, but Zimmerman remained consistently above average for the next few seasons. It combined with .281/.348/.464 appears between 2011-13, and played a key role in the Nats winning the division in 2012 for the first time since the transition.
Along the way, Washington again signed Zimmerman for a long-term extension. This, a $100 million guarantee that lasted into 2019 with full no-trade protection, promised to keep him a member of the organization for at least the vast majority of his career. Injuries limited his workload between 2014 and 2015, and he had an uncharacteristically bad season in 2016. However, Zimmerman rebounded late in the deal.
Working exclusively as a first baseman when he hit his thirties, Zimmerman posted one of the best performances of his career in 2017. Zimmerman popped into the 36 best houses of his career and made .303/.358/.573 over 576 appearances that year, earning him On the All-Star nod for the second time in the process. Frequent injuries prevented him from getting over 350 again in one season, but Zimmerman continued to reach above average when he was healthy in 2018.
Staying with the national team throughout his career made an impressive return in 2019. Zimmerman only played in 52 regular season games, but he was without doubt a revered member of the club. He saw a fair amount of movement during Washington’s run to the world title, collecting his first campaign ring at the age of 34. Zimmerman opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns but is back for a final year with the Nats in 2021.
While he landed on free agency at the end of last year, there’s no doubt that the citizens would welcome him back if he wanted to keep playing. General Manager Mike Rizzo said in October:Ryan Zimmerman has a place on this list as a player as long as Mike Rizzo is a GMHe stated emphatically that he has a permanent MLB contract offer on the table. However, Zimmerman has indicated a desire to spend more time with his family and suggested he does not feel motivated to fully commit to playing another season (via Jesse Dougherty and Barry Sverulga for The Washington Post).
Zimmerman concludes his playing career after leaving an indelible mark on the franchise, most notably “Mr. The nickname “National” has long been given to him by fans. His No. 11 shirt appears to be a lock that has been retired by the organization and will no doubt be well remembered by his Washington fan base.
In all, Zimmermann has amassed a .277/.341/.475 streak across parts of 16 major league seasons. He hit 1,846 hits, 284 home runs and 417 doubles, led 1,061 runs and scored 963. FanGraphs and Baseball Reference have each estimated his career at around 40 WAR, and BRef estimates he has collected just over $134 million in earnings. Zimmerman has been voted MVP in four separate seasons, and it wouldn’t be surprising if he got some Hall of Fame votes when he appeared on the ballot five years from now. MLBTR congratulates him on an excellent career and wishes him all the best in retirement.
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