WASHINGTON -- Meet Ryan Zimmerman, world’s worst negotiator.
For a year, Zimmerman has contended he wants to play in Washington and nowhere else. He’s done so for 15 years. His family lives in the District, his parents in Virginia Beach and a baseball field just up South Capitol Street is named after him. He is now a free agent -- a fancy term for “unemployed” -- for the first time in his major-league career. He last was jobless 20 years ago in 1999 as a freshman at Kellam High School in Virginia Beach.
“Beautiful,” Zimmerman said of his state. “It’s great.”
Yes, he would like to play again. Yes, he would prefer it to be in Washington. And, no, it won’t be anywhere else. Which makes him either bad at trying to leverage his next contract or simply a 35-year-old who has run out of tolerance for posturing.
“I think I’ve made intentions pretty clear: it’s either play some more here or play more golf,” Zimmerman said. “So, we’ll be good to go.”
Zimmerman was well-received when he walked into The Anthem on Monday night to view a documentary about the Nationals’ run to the 2019 World Series title. He was the lone player to attend. Mike Rizzo joined him. A graphic touting the film included five players: Zimmerman, Max Scherzer, Juan Soto, Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg. Three of them are free agents.
“Obviously, we want everyone back,” Zimmerman said. “It’s a business. We’d love to keep everyone, you can’t keep everybody. ...Whatever happens with them is what happens, I think all of us will always remember last year no matter where they go.”
Zimmerman said his agent and Rizzo talked at the general managers meetings in mid-November. He then wondered when the Winter Meetings start.
“The winter meetings are this weekend? Next weekend? Whenever,” Zimmerman said. “That’s the least of my worries. They talked with Rizz when we were out there at the GM meetings. Both sides want something to happen. It’s just a matter of getting something done. We’ll see what happens. I’m not too worried about it.”
He’s five weeks removed from winning the World Series. The first two weeks consisted of unpacking and touching the ground with feet again. His daughters were ready to spend more time with their dad. Zimmerman was ready to rest.
However, it’s already December. The time to start working out comes shortly after he leaves the movie viewing. Spring training is three months away. Presumably, he will be there, though his friends have suggested an alternative because of his job status.
“They tell me I should go claim unemployment,” Zimmerman said.
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