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Zimmerman returning to Nats in 2020

@zachsilver
January 28, 2020

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals and Ryan Zimmerman have agreed on a one-year deal to return “Mr. National” to D.C. for his 16th season, the club announced Tuesday. Zimmerman’s deal is for $2 million with the chance to make up to $3 million in performance-based incentives for games played and plate

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals and Ryan Zimmerman have agreed on a one-year deal to return “Mr. National” to D.C. for his 16th season, the club announced Tuesday.

Zimmerman’s deal is for $2 million with the chance to make up to $3 million in performance-based incentives for games played and plate appearances, a source told MLB.com's Mark Feinsand. The club has not confirmed any details of an agreement, which also includes a full no-trade clause.

This was the only foreseeable outcome for Zimmerman, the organization and D.C. fans. Zimmerman long stated this offseason that his future would consist of either continuing his career with the Nationals or taking his time to the golf course.

General manager Mike Rizzo was never shy to confirm his interest in returning the Nationals’ first Draft pick, and the two met in Rizzo’s office in early January to discuss the details of what it would take.

A few more weeks was what it took to get something done.

“Love him. ... He’s a guy that we are talking to,” Rizzo said on Jan. 11. “He’s a guy that, someday, there will be a statue with his likeness on it here in center field.”

Now the Nationals’ infield picture becomes clearer. The signing of Eric Thames at the onset of January made the addition of a right-handed platoon in Zimmerman a sensible move. Howie Kendrick could get some reps at first base, too, with Trea Turner, Starlin Castro, Asdrúbal Cabrera and likely Carter Kieboom set to make up the remainder of the infield in 2020.

Zimmerman is coming off a pair of injury-riddled campaigns, having played in only 137 games over the past two years. Zimmerman had an $18 million option for 2020 that the Nationals declined in November.

But the first baseman has proven serviceable when he plays, highlighted by his two homers, seven RBIs and .255/.317/.418 slash line during the postseason run that culminated in the club’s first World Series triumph.

“I know he battled some injuries, but I also know that he isn’t mentally or physically ready to be done yet,” closer Sean Doolittle said recently. “I think he still has some really good baseball ahead of him.”

The Nationals hope that kicks off when Zimmerman and position players report to West Palm Beach, Fla., for the first full-squad workout on Feb. 18.

Zachary Silver is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in Baltimore/Washington. Follow him on Twitter @zachsilver.