Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman has committed 135 errors in his ten-year career, and a whopping 97 of them — 72 percent — have been throwing errors. Zimmerman has ranked second in baseball in errors committed in each of the last two seasons, with 21 and 19, accounting for nearly one-third of all the errors committed in his career.
One of them happened in Saturday night’s game against the Braves. With a runner on second and two outs in the top of the fourth, Andrelton Simmons hit a ground ball to Zimmerman, seemingly an easy third out of the inning. Zimmerman, however, made an awkward-looking, high-trajectory throw to first baseman Adam LaRoche that pulled him off the bag, allowing Simmons to reach safely and for the runner to score safely. Zimmerman later exited the game with shoulder soreness.
Zimmerman has never been Mr. Dependable at third base, despite winning a Gold Glove award in 2009. But his issues were exacerbated by off-season shoulder surgery in 2012, hampering his mechanics, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. The cold weather Zimmerman has had to deal with to begin the 2014 season hasn’t helped either, but Zimmerman is careful with the words so as not to use it as an excuse.
“For anyone that has something, cold is never really a good thing,” Zimmerman said. “Some days feel better than others, whether it’s warm, cold, whatever. But that’s everyone in baseball. I don’t like really saying things about that, because everyone goes through stuff. It’s not really an excuse. Everyone who plays baseball has something like that.”
The Nationals have had a bit of consternation over Zimmerman’s issues at the hot corner, but ultimately remain optimistic the 29-year-old can continue making progress.
Zimmerman admits that he’s never going to feel the way he did early in his career again, and has spent some time learning the ins and outs at the position at the opposite side of the diamond. The Nationals and LaRoche would both have to agree to execute 2015’s $15 million option while the club is in the first year of a six-year, $100 million extension with Zimmerman. Extracting as much value out of Zimmerman as possible, even if it means moving him to first base, behooves the Nationals. Zimmerman says he could “definitely play” at first base in a game if necessary.