AP source: Zimmerman, Nationals agree on $2M plus incentives

Sports
Ryan Zimmerman

Washington Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman speaks with members of the media as he arrives for the premiere of a documentary film on the team’s first World Series baseball championship, Monday, Dec. 2, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

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Washington Nationals “face of the franchise” Ryan Zimmerman agreed to terms on a $2 million contract for 2020 that includes the possibility of earning $3 million more in incentives.

The parameters of the deal were described to The Associated Press on Friday by a person familiar with the negotiations, speaking on condition of anonymity because the agreement was still pending a physical exam.

The incentives are based on the number of games the first baseman plays and how many plate appearances he gets.

The person also said the 35-year-old Zimmerman was given a full no-trade clause.

He already had gotten a $2 million buyout when the Nationals declined their $18 million option for next season.

The new agreement was first reported by The Washington Post.

When Zimmerman became a free agent, he figured he either would be back with the Nationals — or out of baseball.

“I think I’ve made my intentions pretty clear,” Zimmerman said in December. “It’s either play some more here or play more golf.”

He was the first player drafted by the Nationals in 2005 after the club moved from Montreal to Washington and he’s played in every one of their 15 seasons. He holds franchise career records for hits, doubles, total bases, homers and RBIs.

Zimmerman was around for the consecutive 100-loss seasons in 2008 and 2009, the frequent trips to — and early exits from — the playoffs from 2012 to 2017, and, of course, the World Series championship last year.

Injuries limited him to 52 games and a .257 average with six homers and 27 RBIs in 2019, although he was a key contributor in the postseason. He is expected to share time at first base in 2020 with newcomer Eric Thames and holdover Howie Kendrick.

“He’s the classiest big leaguer I’ve ever been around. He’s the culmination of a lot of hard work. The guy’s been through some trials and tribulations. We all forget about the first six, seven years, when he played 160 games every year. I saw needles in his shoulder, I saw him play when he probably shouldn’t have played earlier in his career,” general manager Mike Rizzo said late last season. “That’s the kind of man he is and the kind of player he is. You see when he’s a healthy player, he’s a pretty damn good one still.”

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