Oct 10, 2013, 6:00 AM EST
Age on Opening Day 2014: 29
How acquired: 1st round pick, 2005 draft
MLB service time: 8 years, 32 days
2013 salary+bonuses: $14 million
Contract status: Signed for $14 million in 2014, $14 million in 2015, $14 million in 2016, $14 million in 2017, $14 million in 2018, $18 million in 2019, $18 million club option or $2 million buyout in 2020, free agent in 2021
2013 Stats: 147 G, 633 PA, 84 R, 156 H, 26 2B, 2 3B, 26 HR, 79 RBI, 6 SB, 60 BB, 133 SO, .275 AVG, .344 OBP, .465 SLG, .809 OPS, 21 E, -14.0 UZR, 3.0 WAR
Quotable: “That’s why you play all 162. … At the end of the year, guys are what they are. Do I wish I was the same guy every month and was consistent? Yeah, but that’s just not how it works out.” — Ryan Zimmerman
2013 analysis: In the wake of offseason shoulder surgery, Zimmerman entered 2013 hopeful he was finally behind the injury but aware it might still take more time to fully get back to 100 percent. Turns out that was true. Zimmerman’s throwing issues became a national story during the season’s first half — he was charged with 14 errors in his first 66 games — and there were legitimate questions about his ability to stay at third base.
But over the course of the summer, Zimmerman regained strength in the surgically repaired shoulder, and that gave him more confidence in the field. By season’s end, he was firing the ball across the diamond as well as he had in several years, charged with only seven errors over his final 75 games.
There also were questions about Zimmerman’s power stroke through much of the season. He hit only 15 homers through his first 515 plate appearances, a 2.9 percent rate well below his career mark of 3.6 percent. But then he finished with a flourish, clubbing an NL-leading 11 homers in September, a staggering 9.3 percent rate. He finished right where he usually does: 26 homers, a .465 slugging percentage.
2014 outlook: It may yet happen someday down the road, but forget about any discussion of Zimmerman moving across the diamond next season. He re-established his ability to play third base at an elite level over the final two months, and he’ll enter 2014 as confident as he’s been throwing the ball in years.
The time has come, though, for Zimmerman to put together another complete season, start to finish. He has dealt with injuries, both nagging and severe, the last four years and hasn’t played in more than 147 games since 2009.
As the above quote shows, Zimmerman believes strongly in the idea of track records and maintaining an even keel. But the Nationals, while never doubting his abilities to post his numbers by season’s end, certainly wouldn’t mind a strong April to set the tone for a fantastic 2014.
FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS
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As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...
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