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Nationals roster review: Ryan Zimmerman

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Nationals roster review: Ryan Zimmerman

Age on Opening Day 2016: 31

How acquired: 1st round pick, 2005 draft

MLB service time: 10 years, 32 days

2015 salary+bonuses: $14 million

Contract status: Signed for $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

2015 stats: 95 G, 390 PA, 43 R, 86 H, 25 2B, 1 3B, 16 HR, 73 RBI, 1 SB, 33 BB, 79 SO, .249 AVG, .308 OBP, .465 SLG, .773 OPS, 4 E, -2.2 UZR, 0.7 WAR

Quotable: "I know he wants to play a full season. And boy, if he can do that, it can be pretty impressive." — Matt Williams on Ryan Zimmerman

2015 analysis: This was supposed to be the year Ryan Zimmerman rediscovered himself. No longer worried about making throws across the diamond from third base, he would excel at first base and get more at-bats because of less wear and tear on his body. Except it didn't work out that way.

Zimmerman, like others in the Nationals' lineup, struggled through most of April. Then once he did get hot in May, he suffered yet another in a long list of nagging injuries that ultimately hindered his ability to play to full potential. This time, it was plantar fasciitis, which he tried to play through for a few weeks but wound up requiring another lengthy DL stint (seven weeks).

Unlike others who needed time to find their stroke following a long absence from the lineup, Zimmerman hit well right away. Then he really took off in late August, hitting .435 with six homers, 18 RBI and a 1.330 OPS over an 11-game stretch ... before another nagging injury knocked him out again. A strained oblique muscle didn't land Zimmerman on the DL, but it did prevent him from playing in any of the Nats' final 25 games.

And so another season went in the books with the longtime face of the franchise unable to appear in enough games to allow him to put together the numbers he has proven he can post when healthy. He finished with the lowest batting average, on-base percentage and OPS of his 11-year career.

2016 outlook: It's pretty simple at this point: If he can just stay on the field enough to play 140-plus games (something he has done only twice in the last five years), Zimmerman will be a highly productive player and a force in the middle of the Nationals' lineup. Can he actually do that? That's where things are no longer simple.

Zimmerman spoke of a renewed emphasis on conditioning this winter, recognizing that what worked for him in his 20s probably won't work for him in the 30s. He wants to report to spring training with increased flexibility, among other things, trying to avoid the kind of muscle strains that have hurt him in the past.

That said, many of Zimmerman's significant injuries have been flukes that can't be prevented with better conditioning (broken thumb, plantar fasciitis). So the Nationals can't simply assume he'll avoid the DL in 2016. What they'll need to decide is whether they're comfortable enough with Clint Robinson as Plan B at first base, or whether they need to bolster their bench with a more proven bat.

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With Ross placed on 60-day DL, Nationals agree to 1-year deal with veteran reliever

With Ross placed on 60-day DL, Nationals agree to 1-year deal with veteran reliever

WASHINGTON  -- The Washington Nationals say they have agreed to a one-year deal with 40-year-old reliever Joaquin Benoit.

The team announced the move Wednesday, along with placing pitcher Joe Ross on the 60-day disabled list as he recovers from Tommy John surgery in July.

The Nationals didn't release terms of the agreement, though a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Monday that it was for $1 million.

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal wasn't official at the time.

MORE NATIONALS: FULL 2018 SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE

Benoit is a right-hander who first reached the big leagues in 2001. 

He has played for eight teams, finishing last year with Pittsburgh.

He has 764 career appearances, going 58-49 with a 3.83 ERA and 53 saves.

RELATED: 2018 MLB BETTING ODDS

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It's Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

It's Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

So if you have not heard, Bryce Harper is going to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2018 season.

All off-season talking heads, baseball aficionados, radio hosts, etc. were speculating on where the outfielder’s destination will be next year.

And we are still a year away from it actually happening.

RELATED: VEGAS SETS OVER/UNDERS FOR 2018 MLB SEASON

Reporting to spring training on Monday, Harper did not waste any time telling the media how his press conferences were going to play out this season.

“If guys do [ask], or talk anything about that, I will be walking right out the door.”

Entering his seventh season with the Washington Nationals, the 25-year-old is coming off the second-best season, statistically, of his career. The 2015 NL MVP has hit .285 in his career, with 150 home runs and 421 RBIs. Unquestionably he is the face of the Nationals’ organization, if not, the best player in the team’s history.

If he does end the season without a contract extension, he will join Rafael Palmeiro, Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson, and Barry Bonds as the top sought out free agents in MLB history.

One thing is for certain in terms of Harper’s free agency; Harper has given no inclination on where his landing spot will be.  The top three cities are of course his favorite childhood team, the New York Yankees; joining with one of his closest friends with the Chicago Cubs; or just staying with Washington.

Wherever he does land, it does appear that it will be the largest contract given to a free agent ever.

As for now we just wait and direct any of your calls to his agent Scott Boras.

READ ALSO: NATIONALS FULL SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE