Ryan Zimmerman, a veteran of 16 big-league seasons, announced his retirement on Tuesday, according to Jesse Dougherty and Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post.
"At this point in my career, it's not about making money," Zimmerman told the Post. "It's more the weighing of how much time it takes for me to put in the stuff behind the scenes that lets me still be successful on the field that people don't really know about. And it's worth it if you have a chance to win the World Series."
Zimmerman, who celebrated his 37th birthday last September, spent his entire professional career with the Washington Nationals. He was selected fourth overall in the 2005 draft by way of the University of Virginia, making him the franchise's initial pick after it relocated from Montreal and rebranded from being known as the Expos. He reached the majors later that season, in 2005, after appearing in 67 minor-league games between the Single and Double-A levels.
Zimmerman would go on to hit .277/.341/.475 (116 OPS+) with 284 home runs and 40.1 Wins Above Replacement in more than 7,400 plate appearances. He made two All-Star Games, won two Silver Slugger Awards, and also took home a Gold Glove Award in 2009. Zimmerman was, of course, a member of the 2019 Nationals team that won the franchise's first World Series. He hit .255/.317/.418 with two home runs that October.
"On behalf of my family and the entire Washington Nationals organization, we would like to congratulate Ryan on a tremendous career and thank him for his contributions both on the field and in our community," Nationals owner Mark Lerner said in a statement. "Ryan will forever be remembered as Mr. National. From the walk-off home runs, to carrying the World Series trophy down Constitution Avenue, to the final day of the 2021 regular season when our fans gave him an ovation that none of us will soon forget, Ryan gave us all 17 years of amazing memories. We wish him, Heather, their four beautiful children and the rest of their family nothing but the best in all of their future."
"For 17 seasons, Ryan Zimmerman epitomized what it meant to be the Face of the Franchise," Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said. "He was an All-Star, Gold Glove and Silver Slugger winner, Comeback Player of the Year and World Series champion -- but those accolades pale in comparison to his impact on our organization and in the community during his career. Ryan always carried himself with class, honor and respect and played the game for the name on the front of the jersey, not the one on the back. I want to personally congratulate Ryan on a fantastic career and wish him and the entire Zimmerman family all the best in retirement."
"It was truly an honor to manage and share a clubhouse with Ryan Zimmerman," Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. "Like many around Major League Baseball, I had a lot of respect for Ryan from watching the way he played and competed as an opponent. It wasn't until I came to Washington that I learned of his true impact on this organization, the fans and the community. He was a fierce competitor but also a calming presence when we needed it most. Ryan's numbers and accomplishments speak for themselves, but the way he led by example and was respected not only in our clubhouse but around the game -- that is what I will remember most about his career. Not only was he a player I enjoyed managing, but he's also become a great friend. Congrats, Ryan. I wish you, Heather and the kids nothing but the best."
Zimmerman retires as the Nationals' overwhelming franchise leader in most notable offensive categories. For perspective, he holds a 100-homer advantage over Bryce Harper, and he has more than 1,300 more hits than Juan Soto does. In time, Zimmerman's share of team records will be reduced; for now, though, his "Mr. National" nickname is both well-earned and apt.