Results tagged ‘ Ryan Zimmerman ’

Zimmerman eyes Tulowitzki-type contract

A few days after Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki agreed to a seven-year contract extension worth $134 million, third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said Thursday he would love to sign a similar extension with the Nationals.

However, Zimmerman, who has three years left on a five-year, $45 million contract, said he wants to make sure the Nationals are winning on a consistent basis before considering such a deal. He was not happy that former teammate Adam Dunn agreed to terms with the White Sox.

“[Signing an extension] is something I would want,” Zimmerman said. “I made it clear that I wouldn’t mind playing in Washington for the rest of my career. Obviously, we need to do something to prove that we are going to try win championships here for the next 10 years. I have no doubt that the front office will do that. It’s one of the reasons I signed the first deal. It’s one reason I would sign a deal like Tulo signed.”

Zimmerman, 26, and Tulowitzki were selected fourth and seventh, respectively, in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft and have become close friends over the years.

“I’m really happy for Tulo,” Zimmerman said. “We have known each other since college. We played on Team USA together, we were drafted the same year and we are pretty close friends. He is recognized as the best shortstop the last two years.

“It’s funny the deal happened. As soon as it happened, people ask me if it’s going to happen to me. We has similar careers, the numbers are almost identical for our careers. If you ask me if I would take a similar deal, I would say 99.9 percent that I would take that deal.”           

Zimmerman sad to see Dunn leave Nationals

Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said Thursday that he is happy for first baseman Adam Dunn, who agreed to a four-year deal with the White Sox. However, Zimmerman acknowledged that he is concerned about the Nationals. How are they going replace Dunn in the lineup?

It was Dunn who protected Zimmermann in the lineup. Zimmerman will be the first to say that he was able to win the Silver Slugger Award the last two seasons because Dunn was hitting behind him in the lineup.

“I’m very concerned. I think these are supposed to be the years we take a step forward and become more competitive,” Zimmerman said via phone. “We are supposed to be becoming a team that goes out and gets more free agents. To not be able to sign the best free agent that was on your team to begin with is tough. … It’s going to be hard to replace someone [like Dunn] that is in the middle of the order. I hope — just like everyone hopes – that the front office has a plan in place in the next week or two when all this stuff goes on. Hopefully, this will all makes sense.”

While no one questioned Dunn’s ability as a hitter, there were questions about his defense. People in the Nationals’ front office believed he was a defensive liability, but Zimmermann argues that that Dunn was better than what people believed. Zimmerman indicated that Dunn improved at first base by the second half of the 2010 season.

“Adam is the most one of the most underrated players in the game,” Zimmerman said. “Defensively, I think a lot of people think back to when he was in the outfield. He will be the first to tell you that he wasn’t a very good outfielder. He moved to first. I think the second half of last year he started to get better.

“My biggest comparison is Ryan Howard, who I love to death, but Ryan Howard had one more error than Adam Dunn last year, You never hear anyone talk about Ryan Howard’s defense. If you put Adam Dunn in the Phillies lineup, his offense is going to be as good as his. All of a sudden, you have the same player and Ryan Howard makes $25 million a year.”

Zimmerman is aware that the Nationals have a plan in place, trying to replace Dunn with free agents such as Carlos Pena or Adam LaRoche. They could even trade for a first baseman like James Loney. But Zimmerman still wonders if it was worth letting Dunn sign with the White Sox.

“I think myself, including the fans and a lot of other people, are wondering and hoping that the plan is there,” Zimmerman said. “If it’s not there, this is something we are going to look back on and think, ‘Why didn’t we take care of [Dunn]?’ “:

Zimmerman wants to win, but understands process

Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman has played with the Nationals since late 2005 and watched the team finish in sixth place every year except for 2007.

While he doesn’t like to lose, Zimmerman said he understands that the Nationals are trying to build a team through the farm system.

“Nobody like losing, but it’s a process here,” Zimmerman said. “We have a young team. It’s hard to compete day in and day out with teams that have veteran guys. We are learning here. Do I think we have enough to win? Of course.

“A lot of these guys are learning to play every day in the big leagues. It’s not an easy place to learn. It’s a hard thing to learn how to be consistent and be successful every day. It’s a fun team to be on because I get to watch it happen like I had to go through. We are in that process now. Nobody likes to lose.” 

Nationals make two sparkling defensive plays

The Nationals are one of the worst defensive teams in baseball this season, but they made two sparkling gems during Saturday’s 4-1 loss to the Marlins.

In the fifth inning, with runners on first and third, two outs and Nationals right-hander Jason Marquis on the mound, Marlins outfielder Logan Morrison hit a shot up the middle that looked like a base hit. But second baseman Danny Espinosa made a great diving play and threw out Morrison for the final out of the inning.

“That was great play,” Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said. “The range to get it and then the arm to finish it off was tremendous. I don’t know what more you could do there.”

A natural shortstop, Espinosa sounded like a person who doesn’t need to make adjustments at second base. Espinosa didn’t start playing the position until after the All-Star break.

“I’m trying to feel more comfortable everyday over there to make my routine plays. It makes me feel better,” Espinosa said. 

In the sixth inning, the Nationals were able to turn a great double play. With no outs and a runner on first, Dan Uggla hit what looked like a routine groundball to third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, who booted the ball, but manage to throw out Uggla at first base. 

At the same time, Hanley Ramirez didn’t stop at second and decided to go to third. Luckily for the Nationals, shortstop Ian Desmond was covering third as first baseman Adam Dunn threw out Ramirez for the double play.

“I saw that he didn’t stop at second,” Desmond said about Ramirez. “I just knew to run to third. That’s the way they teach you to do it. I ran to third, hoping that Dunn was going to throw it and he did.”

Nats tidbits for Sunday

The Nationals still want a veteran starting pitcher, but don’t expect general manager Mike Rizzo to look hard for one on the free-agent market. In fact, the club is waiting for free-agent pitchers to come to them at the right price. 

So don’t look for the Nationals to break the bank for pitchers such as right-hander John Smoltz or left-hander Jarrod Washburn.   

“During the early part of the winter, we made sure we got things done,” Rizzo said. “I made sure we had a Major League veteran starter [Jason Marquis], Major League catcher [Ivan Rodriguez] and improved the bullpen [Matt Capps, Brian Bruney and Eddie Guardado]. We took care of that.
“I think during the second half of the offseason we are going to let a little bit of that come to us. We do think there is a surplus of people out there … that we are talking about. There is nobody … out there on the pitching market that is a difference maker.”      

* Center fielder Nyjer Morgan acknowledged that he needs to improve his batting average against left-handed pitching. Last season, for example, the left-handed hitting Morgan hit .175 with a homer and 12 RBIs against southpaws. 

“I’ll try to figure something out — if it’s a little adjustment,” Morgan said. “I’ll make something happen. Last year was probably my worst year of hitting lefties. Like I said, you got to take your lumps but you learn off your mistakes and you try to get better off your mistakes.”

* Right-hander Craig Stammen said he is willing to be a starter or reliever in 2010, but he is going into Spring Training believing that he will be a starter. Stammen said his right elbow is 100 percent after having bone spurs removed toward the end of the season.

* The Nationals displayed Ryan Zimmerman’s first Gold Glove at NatsFest. It was obvious that he was pleased to get the award.

“Defense is an important part of the game. It’s a part of the game that is overlooked,” he said. Everyone loves offense, home runs and everything. You have to be able to play defense and work hard for that, too. I take a lot of pride in that.”

Ryan Zimmerman wins Gold Glove

Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman made history on Wednesday, becoming the first person in Nationals history to win the Gold Glove.

Zimmerman led NL third basemen in assists, total chances, total outs recorded and games started. Almost every game it seemed like Zimmerman put on a show at the hot corner — whether it was making a diving play or charging a ball to throw out a runner.

Zimmerman has been great with the glove ever since he entered the Major Leagues in September, 2005, but didn’t receive a lot of recognition until this year. Why? Zimmerman said he learned to play the position a lot better.

“I know what I need to do  — when to throw the ball, when not to throw the ball. That’s something I had to learn,” he said. “I feel like anytime I touch the ball, I can get the person out. A lot of times in the past, I might go down the line, dive, backhand the ball and not have a shot at the runner.”

“I’ve learned to hold on to the ball. That’s obviously better for the team. You don’t want to try to throw it everywhere and you have a runner on second and all that. I think it’s more of an understanding of the game and learning the position a little bit more.”        

Zimmerman reaches 30-homer plateau

While attending the University of Virginia, Ryan Zimmerman hit seven home runs.

After he was drafted by the Nationals in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, Zimmerman warned he was not a home run hitter and indicated that he was going to hit a lot doubles.

Zimmerman has hit his share of doubles in the big leagues, all right, but he was wrong about not being a home-run hitter. In fact, on Friday, Zimmerman, took a Mike Pelfrey pitch for a two-run homer, giving Washington a 2-0 lead in the first inning.

It was Zimmerman’s 30th home run of the season and the first time he has put together a 30-homer season.

“I never hit home runs until I got to the big leagues,” Zimmerman said. “I guess I saved the home runs. I don’t know. That’s how it is. I just keep working hard and get better each year.”

How  does Zimmerman feel about reaching the 30-homer plateau?

“It means that I’m getting better. It’s proves that I’ve done it,” Zimmerman said. “It’s great. I’m excited and all that. It gives you a bench mark to shoot for each year. I have another reason to work even harder.”

Zimmerman trying to improve throwing

Around 3:00 p.m. ET, on Friday, Nationals manager Jim Riggleman was seen working hard with third baseman Ryan Zimmerman on his throwing motion.

Zimmerman was seen throwing the baseball overhand instead of his usual sidearm delivery, which has caused him to make costly errors. The session lasted about 15 minutes.  

“We want to maximize everything Ryan can do,” Riggleman said. “His range is probably better than anybody I’ve ever seen over at third base. … He goes and gets so many balls to his left and by the mound, but somewhere in there, he lost his feel for his arm slot on the basic play.

“The ball is not coming out of his hand as good as he knows it can and we know it can. We talked about it. We are going to get back to the basics, get his arm up and let it fly.”

Thursday was an example of how things have been going for Zimmerman with the glove. Leading off the top of the third inning, Cubs catcher Koyie Hill hit a routine ground ball to  Zimmerman, who threw away the ball for a two-base error. Zimmerman threw the ball sidearm, but had problems gripping the ball.

“I want to stop [making errors] because it’s hurting the team. I don’t like the way it happens,” Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman to attend grandmother's funeral

Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman was not in the starting lineup against the Astros on Friday night because he is in North Carolina to attend the funeral of his grandmother, Ilene Zimmerman, who passed away on Wednesday. She was 82 years old.

Zimmerman is not going on the bereavement list because, according to manager Manny Acta, he will return to the team during Saturday’s game. Acta said Zimmerman will not start in that game either.

“He went to his grandmother’s funeral,” Acta said. “He is going to miss today’s game and probably tomorrow’s game. He is probably going to make it in time before [Saturday’s game] is over, but he is not going to be able to start.”

In the meantime, Willie Harris started at third base in Zimmerman’s absence on Friday.

Acta gives opinion on All-Star representative

Manager Manny Acta said it is tough to decide which member of the Nationals should go to the All-Star Game in St. Louis this month.

Acta said the candidates are between shortstop Cristian Guzman and third baseman Ryan Zimmerman. Entering Saturday’s action, Guzman was hitting .321 with three home runs and 21 RBIs, while Zimmerman had a .295 batting average with 13 home runs and 44 RBIs.

“I think Cristian has been our most consistent hitter the whole year and I think Zimmermann also deserves a chance to go, not only because of the 30-game hitting streak. His numbers are pretty good compared with the other third basemen,” Acta said.

There is some talk in baseball circles that left-hander John Lannan should be considered, but Acta wasn’t sure. Lannan was 5-5 with a 3.45 ERA before Saturday’s game against the Braves.

“It will be tough because they only pick so many starters,” Acta said.