Nationals Baseball: Monday Update - Where's Zimm?

Monday, March 07, 2016

Monday Update - Where's Zimm?

We're only a few days into the Spring season and things are moving along. It's too early to even think about looking at stats, even for the most broadest of reasons (which is about all you can do in Spring), although I suppose if you were really hoping for a Taylor Jordan resurgence back into a rotation battle you may be in trouble.

No, there aren't many stories right now for the Nats, which is good, because for a team with significant injury risk, no news is often the best news. Which brings us to Zimm.  The Nats have played 5 games so far. Exactly zero of the starters have played in more than two*, so Werth having played only one isn't anything to bat an eye at yet.  Two players haven't played in any games. Ramos is explained away by his LASIK surgery, but where is Zimm?

Well he's supposedly healthy and not playing as a way to avoid aggravating his plantar fasciitis. I don't know if I buy that. The issue I have is the idea that he hopes to start playing in games in the next couple of weeks. I can see giving Ryan more time between games but I can't see him not playing at all. He's had all winter to rest and be healthy. Now is the time to test it out. If you really believe playing on it say... once or twice a week in early March is going to aggravate the foot, then that gives me little hope of him playing every day when the season starts in, oh yeah, 4 weeks. I think its more likely that he is having issues with it now. Or if not that, perhaps it's the oblique strain, which you may or may not remember ended his season in early September last year.

Anyway you look at it, as far as early news goes about Zimmerman, this is not encouraging. But he's only one! Nats can handle one. It's four at the same time that gave them trouble last year.

 *Speaking on this point. Ben Revere has played in two games and had 4 ABs, like Rendon, Murphy, Bryce, and likely starter Espinosa. Michael Taylor has played in 4 games with twice as many of at bats, like Heisey, Reed Johnson, Keiboom, Moore, Brendan Ryan, Skole, and likely AAA shortstop Turner.  CF Battle?  There is no CF battle.

34 comments:

Bote Man said...

Speaking of CF battle, our old friend Denard Span is already having Zim-like issues with the Giants, something about his arm. Just wait until his obliques or hamstring or whatever start flaring up. Ho boy.

If first baseman Ryan Zimmerman is lame out of the gate this year, perhaps the Nats should consider Tyler Moore as their starting 1Bman???

notBobby said...

Someone get Werth a 1B mitt!!

Flapjack said...

This had my antennae twitching as well. Pierre Garson (Redskins) overcame his PF, so maybe Zimm will as well. Intriguingly, Murphy is capable of subbing at 1b, which could open a starting spot for Trea... after June 1 of course.

Anonymous said...

One week into March, and the nightmare scenario is already slowly beginning to unfold before our eyes.

Harper said...

FJ - PF seems to be an on/off thing. It's either bothering you or you seem perfectly fine, with little in between. It's let's overcoming then getting lucky with it not coming back.

JE34 said...

Here's hoping Zim's situation isn't a repeat of the way they reported Rendon's issues last year.

So Ramos had an eyesight problem that required intervention. All of a sudden? Maybe he spent the offseason staring at the sun.

Kinda makes you want to walk around the clubhouse with the ol'

E
F P
T O Z
L P E D
etc...

Maybe hang one on Espi's locker? Someone call the Rangers... perhaps that was the reason for Desmond's slider problem all this time.

Anonymous said...

Is Zimm the David Wright of Washington? Or is Wright the Ryan Zimmerman of the Mets?

Harper said...

Anon @ 8:34 - I imagine them doing a Lucille Ball / Harpo Marz routine infront of a mirror.

(but if I seriously had to choose it would be the former. Wright came first and was an offensive force that could play some very good D. Zimm was a defensive wizard that could handle a bat pretty well)

Andrew said...

thanks for covering this, as soon as i heard this i said "and so it begins...". and yet everywhere, this gets mild coverage. this was a big issue last year that didn't get enough press and i heard nothing about any sort of resolution or improvement over the offseason. now, like you said, he's note even playing and they haven't started playing! sure its just one, but this can't be an issue every year. you know you'll have another bat go down so while this is just one, the baseline, to me, is now one, not zero. any other injury is 2 bats down. are there players that get past PF? my sense is more often than not, its a hindrance for years.

SM said...

@Andrew - Interesting that plantar fasciitis isn't much discussed these days. Yet a few years ago--when Albert Pujols was shelved during the latter part of the 2013 season--PF was the sports malady du jour.

Pujols, Evan Longoria, the NFL's Antonio Gates and the NBA's Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah were all sidelined by the affliction that dares not speak its name in English.

One of the recurring arguments at the time (from athletic trainers and orthopedic surgeons) pointed to specialized, year-round training in one sport as the culprit. A return to cross training, they insisted, would have reduced the incidence of plantar fasciitis.

Babe Ruth, apparently, cross trained with redheads and brunettes in the off-season, and plantar fasciitis was never an issue with him. So there's always that, too, I suppose.

Old Man River said...

All these guys "train" way too frequently and hard in the offseason. I recall many years ago, Nomar Garciaparra on the cover of SI featuring an article about his vicious training regimen. That guy ended up breaking down like a lego man. Babe Ruth, as you mentioned, as well as many others of older generations, took months off of not even throwing or swinging a bat. A lot of these injuries you see nowadays is attributed to overworking period in my opinion.

JW said...

It's tough to compare training regimes/injury patterns in the context of history. As time has passed, athletes have gotten so much bigger and faster and the games are played at such a higher pace and intensity level. Baseball also has the issue of the length of the season too. But I remember clearly a conversation I had with a sports medicine guy talking about the increase in ACL tears and how the frequency was unlikely to change so long as the dynamics of sports like football and basketball stayed the same. Most knees can't handle that much power and weight changing directions as sharply and as quickly as modern athletes do. Training helps with all types of injuries, but at the end of the day, parts of the body can only take so much stress.

The big question is how to handle the Zimm situation. It seems increasingly unlikely that he'll ever be able to play a full season again. You can't move him with that contract. But it's hard to pay both him and some type of effective replacement. It's a tough spot for the Nats. Hopefully they are actively trying to come up with a long term solution rather than just hoping Zimm gets healthy again.

notBobby said...

If Zimm is still dealing with either PF or anything else, the best thing for the team to do is to place him on the DL.

If that is the case, do you think they keep both TMo and Clint on the roster to make a platoon? Or does Murphy get time at 1B?

Miles Treacy said...

I try not to read into stats in spring, but I have noticed the lack of strikeouts. Think that's a function of Dusty implementing a difference in approach or just ST being you know, ST?

Anonymous said...

Miles - I'd guess it's just spring training being spring training. Stolen bases, on the other hand . . . well, those have Dusty's toothpick prints all over them.

Anonymous said...

There's another wrinkle to the view that Zim is the Nats' version of David Wright (or vice versa): ESPN is reporting that the Mets are holding Wright out of ST games for at least another week as a precaution - http://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/mets/post/_/id/115036/david-wright-to-be-held-out-of-games-at-least-another-week

Anonymous said...

I agree with the call for beginning to work out Werth at 1B and platoon them. And if they are both healthy come Sept/Oct send whoever is feeling better back out to Left.

Kathy Ognibene said...

That makes sense

Anonymous said...

Acupuncture can cure PF and you keep it away with orthotics after that.

Bjd1207 said...

Does cortisone help with plantar fascia? Maybe we should just try it anyway?

Rob Evans said...

How can someone be this broken down at 31? For crying our loud I'm a former paratrooper that's pushing 40 and Zimm is way more broken down than me. Very frustrating.

Bjd1207 said...

@Rob Evans - Well I'm the counter example. I'm 27 and probably in much worse shape than either you or Zimm

Rob Evans said...

I guess it just comes down to whether or not they're city or highway miles ya got on ya, lol

gail said...

Just back from a spring training weekend. Liked what I saw when Clint Robinson stole second base and then scored a run. Liked how Dusty let Sammy Solis work himself out of a pitching jam. Liked how Trea Turner stole 2nd base twice, even though he didn't because of the third out situation. Dusty ball is faster and more lively than anything we saw last year. Did NOT like Danny E in the field OR at the plate. Daniel Murphy at 2nd base may prove to be a liability - bobbled a few yesterday and cost several Marlins runs. Made Joe Ross look worse than he really was on the mound. Saw solid hitting from Scott Sizemore. Brendan Ryan looked good in the field, not so good at the plate. As for Zimm - very bad contract. Definitely a liability for the Nats. Need young, healthy players. Zimm will never be healthy enough again to play a full season of baseball. They should give him a front office job, or trade him to an American League team. He would be a good DH.

Anonymous said...

@ Rob Evans

Do you have any idea how hard it is to run 90 ft 2-4 times a game, 162 times a year, move laterally a several times, and swing a wooden stick? Zimm will tell you - it breaks men. lol

Bjd1207 said...

@gail - Appreciate the eyes-on report. I share your concern with Danny, although tbf I've only been watching box scores except for the Treinen start. And yea Scott Sizemore is making a good case to be included on the roster.

I wouldn't put any hope in trading Zimm (and personally I don't want one). First is the contract as you mentioned, which no team in their right mind would pick up. Second though, the extension he signed a couple years back was pretty unique. He's got full no-trade protection, and after his playing career ends, we've already got a 5yr/$10M personal services contract in place (your front office job, or maybe coaching/development). So its hard to believe he's going anywhere unless he has a HUGE life-change. He's established here with his family, born and raised in Virginia, and has numerous charity engagements in the area like the ZiMS foundation. He's a DC fixture, and here to stay unless something drastic happens.

Anonymous said...

If Zimm cannot go, Robinson is the 1B Dusty should go with as an everyday player. Clint had better numbers than the other guys who played there and is a good glove at 1B. He has supposedly improved his glove in the off-season for the OF play. I would keep Clint on the roster no matter what since he proved last year, he can do a good job. Not the minor league numbers mean as much as last years but Robinson is a proven player. Tyler needs more seasoning and maybe should start in the AAA level and get playing time.

Jay said...

You can actually have surgery for PF. They release the tendon and that stops the pain. I think a few NBA players did that years ago when PF was the trendy injury. Also, cortisone shots are an option. I agree that the thought of holding someone out for two weeks when the season starts in four doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Also, Zim always talks about he only needs a few at bats. Then the season starts and he doesn't "get hot" until July. Could be he needs more than just a few at bats in the spring. The guy has all kinds of moving parts in his swing. I have to say I don't see how he can be counted on for a full season anymore. I hope he proves me wrong. He's a great guy. Just brittle now. David Wright at least still plays third.

JW said...

Didn't think TMo could go back down without being released.

Zimm isn't leaving the Nats. And it's not that the Nats should be trying to get rid of Zimm. It's that the Nats should be trying to manage the Zimm situation in a way that doesn't hurt the team's short term or long term competitiveness. With Werth, you are pretty much just riding out the last two years and hoping that he's either playing and productive or on IR. Zimm is more of a long term challenge because he's not old and hugely important to the franchise for more than on-field reasons. You have to find some way to make him a net positive.

blovy8 said...

I bet Rizzo secretly wishes he were a hockey GM so he could just say, it's a lower body injury.

I don't think Sizemore is the answer, he might be a tad more versatile than Moore, but he hasn't gotten near a season's worth of playing time since 2011 for pretty good reasons. I guess if Freese were signed, I'd get worried.

Huh, Justin Morneau is still out there. That's kind of weird, even with the concussion stuff, he could be a decent LH pinch hitter/DH/1B for somebody.

Anonymous said...

Zimmerman hasn't contributed anything to the team for two years now; no reason or need to be concerned about this guy. Time to hit the road Ryan.

Bjd1207 said...

@Anon - lol did you read anything I wrote? He's not going anywhere. Also when he came back after the DL stint (7/28-9/7) he slashed .311/.372/.652 so if he's healthy there's evidence he can hit.

Flapjack said...

Dusty's been holding a lot of the regulars out so far, not just Zimm. How many ABs has Harper had? We're not the only team doing that, either. Remember, one of the biggest stories in a ho-hum off season was the top-to-bottom overhaul of the Nats conditioning/medical staff. Maybe the current intrigue is no more complicated than the Nats keeping pace with the state of the art. Meanwhile, the replacements (hey, check out that Sizemore!) have looked great.

One of the biggest question marks I have so far is whether Ross takes another step up into ZNN's shoes. Another is whether Espy's aborted attempt to hit exclusively from the right side in last year's ST didn't aid his early season resurgence as a switch hitter.

Anonymous said...

Well, the so-called "state of the art" hasn't served this team very well in recent years, given that every April they look like a team that treated March like extended winter vacation.

It's absolutely imperative that this team gets off to a good start this year with the three and a half week pillow schedule they were gifted. Because the schedule gets way more brutal after that.

I simply don't want to hear all that usual codswallop this year of "Oh, April doesn't really matter; this team is so immensely talented that they'll just flip the switch on and get it going, starting tomorrow" that we heard all last year from the F. P. Santangelos of the world.