Nationals

Nationals awaiting a decision from Zimmerman on his return

Nationals

One of the bigger questions facing the Nationals, outside their pursuit of the top free agents in this year's class, has been Ryan Zimmerman's status heading into next year. 

Zimmerman is a free-agent for the second year in a row after signing a one-year deal with Washington last year, though he opted out of the shortened 2020 season along with teammate Joe Ross. Will he retire or come back for at least one more season in a Nationals uniform to help fill a void over at first base?

Nationals general manager and president of baseball operations informed the Sports Junkies that the team is still awaiting a decision on that front Tuesday morning. 

"Ross is under contract with us and he's planning on playing," Rizzo said. "[Zimmerman], we had a few conversations at the latter end of the [2020] season. I'm not sure if he's made a decision yet or not, but I've spoken to both of those guys and their individual assessments are different in their careers, so we'll keep on top of both of them."

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With Howie Kendrick gone and Washington declining to pick up Eric Thames' option, there's nobody at first base besides Jake Noll, who had 17 at-bats in 2020. 

The Nats could always address the situation via free agency, but if they spend big at starting pitcher or on an outfielder, they may have to go "first base by committee" like they did last year. In such a case, Zimmerman would fit into that type of system. In 2019, Zimmerman posted a .257/.321/.415 slash line over 52 games. 

 

But in the end, it's up to Zimmerman whether he wants to play one more year of professional baseball. 

"We're certainly gonna have Joe Ross on the team next year and [Zimmerman], we'll have to make a decision on him depending on what his feelings are with his family," Rizzo said.

For more interviews, tune into Sports Junkies on NBC Sports Washington, weekdays from 6-10 a.m.