Nats, Ryan Zimmerman Announce Deal

Posted by Dave Nichols | Monday, April 20, 2009 | , , , , | 0 comments »

Photos (c) D. Nichols 2009. All Rights Reserved.

Here's the press release. I'll have more later. Suffice to say this is a good thing!

The Washington Nationals today signed third baseman Ryan Zimmerman to a long-term contract extension through the 2013 season. Nationals President Stan Kasten made the announcement.

Zimmerman is a career .282 (508-for-1804) hitter with 128 doubles, nine triples, 60 home runs and 268 RBI in 456 big league games, all of which have been played with the Nationals.

The 24 year-old Zimmerman is the Washington Nationals (2005-present) all-time leader in most offensive categories, including but not limited to games, runs (248), hits, times on base (675), doubles, home runs, extra-base hits (197), total bases (834) and RBI, as well as go-ahead (70) and game-winning RBI (36).

Zimmerman is widely regarded as a top-flight defensive third baseman, and in 2008, he paced MLB in both total chances per 9.0 innings (3.00) and putouts per 9.0 innings (0.94). Regularly lauded by baseball pundits, Zimmerman’s finest defensive efforts are standard fare on baseball’s various nightly highlight programs.

In 2006, despite being less than a year removed from college, Zimmerman hit .287 with 47 doubles, 20 home runs and 110 RBI in 157 games in his first complete big league campaign. In the closest vote since 1980, Zimmerman finished second to Florida shortstop Hanley Ramirez in ‘06 National League Rookie of the Year balloting despite posting the top NL rookie RBI total since Albert Pujols’ remarkable 130-RBI effort in 2001.

Zimmerman—as the Nationals’ first-ever draft selection—signed with Washington just minutes after being picked fourth overall in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft. After just 73 minor-league contests, he became the first position player from the vaunted 2005 Draft class to reach the big leagues. Ryan’s arrival did not disappoint, as he batted .397 in 20 September contests.

The Nationals’ first home-grown player from a developmental standpoint, Zimmerman also fit nicely into Washington’s geographic footprint.

A native of Virginia Beach, VA, Ryan played high school and summer ball in theTidewater-area with future big leaguers such as David Wright and the Upton brothers before matriculating to the University of Virginia.

In three collegiate seasons with the Cavaliers, Zimmerman hit .355 with 47 doubles and 140 RBI and helped Virginia earn NCAA bids each of his final two years to end the program’s eight-year post-season void. In 2004, he was named USA Baseball’s Athlete of the Year after being named MVP of the World University Games played in Taiwan.

Following his breakout 2006 season, Zimmerman founded the ziMS Foundation, which is dedicated to the treatment and ultimate cure of Multiple Sclerosis by funding comprehensive support and educational programs. ziMS Foundation hosts annual events in Ryan’s two hometowns: Virginia Beach and in Washington, DC. The plight of those afflicted with MS are close to Ryan’s heart, as his mother, Cheryl, was diagnosed with MS—a chronic and unpredictable disease that affects the central nervous system—in 1995.