Theodore N. Lerner, managing principal owner of the Washington Nationals, speaking on behalf of the Lerner family and the entire Nationals ownership group, said:
“Ryan Zimmerman is an exceptional talent and individual. He is a role model on the field, in the clubhouse and in the community. He has been the face of the Washington Nationals since baseball was returned to Washington. We are absolutely thrilled that Ryan will continue to help us build our team in a winning direction.”
The 27 year-old Zimmerman is the Nationals all-time leader in most offensive categories, including but not limited to games, runs (487), hits, times on base (1300), doubles, home runs, extra-base hits (356), total bases (1573) and RBI, as well as go-ahead (134) and game-winning RBI (62).
The contract extension is the second of Zimmerman’s career, as on April 20, 2009, the Nationals and Zimmerman agreed upon a contract extension to run through the 2013 season.
Zimmerman’s return on that 2009 investment was immediate as he responded by hitting .292 with 37 doubles, a career-high 33 home runs, 106 RBI and a career-best 110 runs scored in 157 games.
His efforts as a third bagger that season resulted in the first National League Rawlings Gold Glove and the second National League Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger citations of his career. He joined the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp as the only two National Leaguers to claim both a Silver Slugger and a Gold Glove in 2009.
Zimmerman’s Gold Glove citation in 2009 was the first—and remains the only—such award won by a member of the Nationals, who began play in the Nation’s Capital in 2005.
Zimmerman is the Nationals’ first homegrown player from both developmental and geographical standpoints.
As Washington’s first-ever draft selection, he 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. Zimmerman’s quick arrival did not disappoint, as he batted .397 in 20 September contests.
A native of Virginia Beach, VA, Ryan played high school and summer ball in the Tidewater-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.
Following a 110-RBI breakout rookie campaign in 2006, 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.
The Zimmerman contract extension caps an enormously productive off-season for the Nationals, who in addition to locking up their first homegrown All-Star, added left-handed starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez via trade, right-handed starter Edwin Jackson as a free agent and right-handed reliever Brad Lidge as a free agent. In January, Washington also inked outfielder/first baseman Michael Morse to a multi-year extension, thus avoiding arbitration.