Nationals

Nationals

If this is it for Ryan Zimmerman, then he has a very successful career to look back on.

First-round pick. Runner-up for Rookie of the Year. Two All-star appearances. Two Silver Sluggers. A Gold Glove. Four top-25 MVP finishes. 270 home runs and 1,015 RBIs. World Series champion.

The career Nationals infielder announced via his agent Monday that he plans to sit out the 2020 season amid the coronavirus pandemic. Signed to a one-year deal, Zimmerman may end up back in free agency next offseason. He won’t sign with another team, but there’s a chance that he calls it a career instead of playing out what would be his age-36 season.

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On Tuesday’s episode of the Nationals Talk podcast, NBC Sports Washington’s team insider Todd Dybas discussed the scenarios that could play out over the next year.

“I’m very curious about what he’s going to do,” Dybas said. “I think there’s a lot of hints and conversations that I’ve had with him where I wouldn’t end up surprised if he retired.

“I think [the decision to opt out] would be much more difficult if they didn’t win the World Series last year. He has that, that’s done. So basically everything he could’ve done from 2005 to 2019 is in the bank for him. He was a good player at his peak. He was an All-star twice. He’s a huge, huge, huge factor in the organization’s growth.”

 

As he showed throughout the playoffs, Zimmerman still has the ability to produce at the plate when healthy. Of course, that’s a caveat that has carried a lot of weight the last few years. Since 2014, he’s only eclipsed 100 games in a season twice while dealing with ailments all over his body.

LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW ON THE NATIONALS TALK PODCAST

Yet that doesn’t mean the decision to retire would be an easy one. Even though he finished last season a World Series champion, Zimmerman still wanted to play again in 2020 up until the pandemic hit. If the veteran still feels capable of contributing next spring, it would be tough to bet against the veteran infielder giving it another shot.

“I do know this,” Dybas said. “He’s not in love with spring training. He’s not in love with being in the training room. He’s not in love with everything that goes in between the games. But as far as still playing—if you think about all the crap he went through last year to get back on the field with the plantar fasciitis—that’s driven by a desire to be on the field. It’s just whether he can tolerate all the rest of it.”

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