There have been some conflicting reports about the details of Ryan Zimmerman’s contract extension with the Nationals, but Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com has the year-by-year breakdown of the deal:
2012: $12 million
2013: $14 million
2014: $14 million
2015: $14 million
2016: $14 million
2017: $14 million
2018: $14 million
2019: $18 million
2020: $18 million or $2 million buyout
Zimmerman was already under contract for $12 million this season and $14 million in 2013, so he’ll make at least $116 million for the next eight seasons and as much as $132 million over nine seasons if the Nationals decide to pay him $18 million as a 35-year-old in 2020.
And the deal also includes a five-year, $10 million “personal services” contract that kicks in whenever Zimmerman retires, so that bumps his guaranteed money to at least $126 million and as much as $142 million.
Lastly, because the no-trade clause in the contract doesn’t begin until 2014 there’s a built-in bonus of $8 million if he’s traded before then. So technically he could earn up to $150 million, but he’s obviously not going to be traded within the next 24 months.
Add it all up and the actual extension is $90 million for six years, plus the $26 million for two years Zimmerman still had left on his original deal and the $10 million “personal services” agreement.
Yankees starter Luis Severino and Phillies starter Aaron Nola both signed contract extensions within the last week. Severino agreed to a four-year, $40 million contract with a 2023 club option. Nola inked a four-year, $45 million deal with a 2023 club option.
While the deals both represented significant raises and longer-term financial security for the right-handed duo, some feel like the players are selling themselves short. It has become a more common practice for players to agree to these types of deals in part due to how stagnant free agency has become. Get the money while you can.
Mets starter Noah Syndergaard is in a similar situation as Severino and Nola were. He and the Mets avoided arbitration last month, agreeing on a $6 million salary for the 2019 season. He has two more years of arbitration eligibility left. A contract extension with the Mets would presumably cover both of those years plus two or three years of what would be free agent years. As Tim Britton of The Athletic reports, however, Syndergaard plans to test free agency when the time comes.
Syndergaard said, “I trust my ability and the talent that I have. So I feel like I’m going to bet (on) myself in free agency and not do what they did. But if it’s fair for both sides and they approach me on it, then maybe we can talk.” He clarified that he would be open to a conversation about an extension, but the Mets thus far haven’t approached him about it. In his words, “There’s been no traction.”
Syndergaard, 26, has been one of baseball’s better starters since debuting in 2015. He owns a career 2.93 ERA with 573 strikeouts and 116 walks in 518 1/3 innings. Among pitchers to have logged at least 400 innings since 2015 and post a lower ERA are Clayton Kershaw (2.22), Jacob deGrom (2.66) and Max Scherzer (2.71). Syndergaard made only seven starts in 2017 yet still ranks seventh among pitchers in total strikeouts since 2015.
If Sydergaard doesn’t end up signing an extension, he will be entering free agency after the 2021 season. The collective bargaining agreement expires in December 2021 and a new one will likely be agreed upon around that time. Syndergaard will hopefully have better prospects entering free agency then than players do now.