Ryan Zimmerman and the World Series champion Washington Nationals finalized a $2 million, one-year contract on Wednesday.
The 35-year-old first baseman, who has spent his entire 15-year big league career with the Nationals, can earn $3 million in performance bonuses. He can earn $1.5 million based on games: $250,000 each for 65, 80, 95, 110, 125 and 140. He also can get $1.5 million for plate appearances: $250,000 apiece for 250, 300, 350, 500, 450 and 500.
Zimmerman also gets a full no-trade provision. Since he already has the right to block trades as a 10-year veteran who has spent five years with his current club, the provision would matter only if he accepts a trade, then wants to block a deal to a different team.
He had become a free agent last fall after the Nationals declined an $18 million option, choosing to pay a $2 million buyout.
Injuries limited Zimmerman to 52 games and a .257 average with six homers and 27 RBIs last year, but he was a key contributor in the postseason. He homered in Game 4 of the Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Pedro Báez and in the World Series opener off Houston’s Gerrit Cole.
Zimmerman is expected to share time at first base with newcomer Eric Thames and holdover Howie Kendrick.
“He’s the classiest big leaguer I’ve ever been around. He’s the culmination of a lot of hard work. The guy’s been through some trials and tribulations. We all forget about the first six, seven years, when he played 160 games every year. I saw needles in his shoulder, I saw him play when he probably shouldn’t have played earlier in his career,” general manager Mike Rizzo said late last season. “That’s the kind of man he is and the kind of player he is. You see when he’s a healthy player, he’s a pretty damn good one still.”