From Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post comes word that the Nationals reached agreement Sunday morning on a six-year contract extension with third baseman Ryan Zimmerman.
Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com has much more on the just-completed deal, which includes a club option for a seventh season and could keep Zimmerman in a Nationals uniform through 2020.
Financial terms have not been disclosed, though there is a press conference scheduled for Sunday afternoon at the Nationals’ spring complex in Viera, Florida and it’s likely that more information will leak soon.
Zimmerman, 27, has registered a cool .288/.355/.479 career batting line and averaged 25 home runs per year since breaking into the major leagues in 2005. He was already under team control through 2013, but the Nats wanted to prevent him from getting even a whiff of the open market. And they now have.
UPDATE, 10:14 AM: ESPN’s Jim Bowden reports that the six-year extension is worth $100 million and the option for 2020 is worth $24 million. Zimmerman also got his wish with full no-trade protection.
The Blue Jays have shut down left fielder Steve Pearce for the remainder of the season following a lingering case of lower back stiffness. Pearce has not appeared in a game since September 8, when he was forced to exit in the first inning after experiencing back pain during his at-bat. Per Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca, he’s scheduled to return to Florida next week, where he’ll receive epidural injections to address the pain.
Pearce, 34, impressed in his first season with Toronto. He battled through a calf injury during the first half of the season and finished the year with a modest .252/.319/.438 batting line, 13 home runs and a .757 OPS through 348 PA. By September, the Blue Jays started testing the waters with outfield prospect Teoscar Hernandez, who shouldered the bulk of the starts in left field after Pearce was sidelined with back issues.
With the Blue Jays all but eliminated from playoff contention, however, there’s no rush to get Pearce back to the outfield. He should be in fine shape to compete for another starting role in spring, and could face stiff competition from Hernandez if the rookie continues building on his .278 average and three home runs this month. The veteran outfielder is slated to receive the remaining $6.25 million on his contract in 2018 and will be eligible for free agency in 2019.
Brewers’ minor league infielder Julio Mendez remains in “critical but stable condition,” club GM David Stearns announced Friday. Back in August, Mendez suffered a cardiac event after he was inadvertently struck by a ball from the Angels’ Austin Krzeminksi during a game between the rookie-level affiliates. The 20-year-old was removed to a Phoenix-area hospital for treatment following the incident and has recently been transferred to a hospital in his native Venezuela.
Mendez was in his fourth season with the Brewers’ organization. He spent the majority of his 2017 run with the rookie-level AZL Brewers, slashing .255/.294/.355 with 10 extra-base hits, 16 RBI and four stolen bases over 119 plate appearances. He currently holds a career .241/.324/.309 batting line, 33 extra bases and a .633 OPS through 668 PA.
Baseball is still on the back burner, however, as Mendez appears to have made little progress nearly a month following the hit by pitch. Thoughts go out to his family during this difficult time.