The Washington Nationals completed a long-rumored contract extensiion with third baseman Ryan Zimmerman today that will pay him a total of $100 million and extend his current contract to the 2019 season. The contract also contains an option for 2020 that could make the entire package left on Zimmerman’s contract (the old and the new) worth $150 million.
Zimmerman signed a five year extension at the beginning of the 2009 season that would pay him $45 million from 2009 to 2013. The final two seasons on this contract, the 2012 and 2013 seasons, will pay him $12 and $14 million respectively before the new extension kicks in for the 2014 season.
The new extension will ensure that Zimmerman’s prime will be spent in the nation’s capitol, as it will take him until the end of his age 34 season (35 if the option is picked up). When healthy, Zimmerman is one of the best third basemen in the game, with four seasons worth at least 4 fWAR (and two above 7). He also has two seasons under 3 fWAR that were the cause of a large amount of injuries. A lot of Zimmerman’s value is tied up in his defense, as he’s been +76 DRS since debuting at the end of the 2005 season. His bat is no slouch though, with a career .834 OPS and 128 homers.
The deal makes a lot of sense for Washington, but at the same time, it hamstrings a lot of their payroll for the future. The Nationals now have two $100 million players, but at least they won’t be paying Zimmerman $20 million a year like they will be for Jayson Werth starting in 2014. It was essential to get Zimmerman locked up long-term, but this just highlights how ill-advised the Werth signing was in hindsight.