Washington- Ryan Zimmerman
Hear me out on this one, because I actually think it makes a lot of sense if the Nationals would be interested.
The Nationals signed Ryan Zimmerman to a six year, 100 million dollar contract before the 2014 season, and he has one guaranteed year left on the contract, and a club option for 2020. He’s set to earn 18 million in 2019, and the option of the same amount carries a two million dollar buyout, meaning he’s almost certainly due 20 million for one more season of control.
Why would this deal work for the Blue Jays? Well, with just one year remaining on his deal, Zimmerman wouldn’t require any commitment beyond next season, and the Nationals would probably like to rid themselves of his contract from their books, especially as they consider whether or not to offer Bryce Harper a monster contract to return as a free agent. Zimmerman had a resurgent year in 2017, but he battled injuries again in 2018, and was really bad in 2016.
This one would require the Blue Jays to send Justin Smoak back in a trade package, but his modest salary of eight million would still save eight figures for the Nationals, and give them some room to play with to pursue Harper, other free agents, and also keep in mind the dreaded luxury tax, which they are rumoured to want to stay under this winter.
I’m not certain what 10 million in savings would bring back the Blue Jays, but it would be worth exploring. There’s also the fact that Zimmerman has a no-trade clause in his contract, so this one could be dead in the water as soon as he’s asked about it. Still, it doesn’t hurt to pick up the phone see if there’s a match. The Nationals hope to contend in 2019 with or without Harper, and adding Smoak/ridding themselves of Zimmerman and his contract could be worth a decent prospect or two.