Bryce Harper did not get the high-five from Ryan Zimmerman he was looking for (GIF)

Bryce Harper Ryan ZimmermanRyan Zimmerman had a huge game for the Washington Nationals on Thursday. He went 4-for-5 with a 2-run home run in the second inning of the team’s 8-2 win over the New York Mets. He didn’t miss many pitches in the game. About the only thing his missed was this high-five with Bryce Harper following his home run.

Somebody, please help me out and tell me what’s going on here. Is this some sort of joke between them? Did Zimm do that intentionally? Or did he just whiff on it? Regardless, watching Harper stand there still waiting for his high-five was pretty hilarious.

Does this mean Harper is the new Tom Brady?

GIF via @MetsKevin11
H/T Nats Enquirer

Michael Wacha loses no-hitter on Ryan Zimmerman infield single (Video)

St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Michael Wacha nearly threw the third no-hitter of the MLB season and first of his career, but he surrendered an infield single to Ryan Zimmerman with two outs in the ninth inning on Tuesday night.

Wacha sat down the first 14 Washington Nationals batters he faced, and he lost a perfect game bid when Adam LaRoche reached on an error in the fifth. The rookie issued leadoff walks to LaRoche and Zimmerman in the seventh and eight respectively, and he was going for the no-hitter with two outs in the ninth when Zimmerman hit a chopper that barely got over his head. Shortstop Pete Kozma attempted to make a barehanded play, but his throw was off the mark and Zimmerman beat it out.

Michael WachaThough losing a no-hitter on an infield single is heartbreaking, the scorekeeper made the correct call by declaring it a hit and not an error. Closer Trevor Rosenthal got the last out of the game to preserve the victory for Wacha, who went 8.2 innings allowing one hit and two walks while striking out nine.

A first-round pick out of Texas A&M last year, Wacha maintained good spirits despite losing the no-hitter:

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Ryan Zimmerman: Strasburg’s Leverage Will Never be Higher

Notebook San Diego State Strasburg BaseballLast week we had a similar story where Vernon Davis was telling Michael Crabtree to take what he can get from the 49ers and get his butt into camp. I backed Crabtree in that case because football’s different from baseball — players generally are better when they’re younger because they’ve sustained less injuries. Couple that with the lack of guaranteed contracts and it’s enough reason try to get all the money you can. But when it comes to baseball draft picks signing, I have somewhat of a different perspective.

The showdown between Scott Boras’ client, number one overall pick Stephen Strasburg, and the Nats looks like it will come down to Monday’s midnight signing deadline. The Nats have gone on record saying they’ve given Strasburg a “record offer” which doesn’t mean much to me since the previous record given to Mark Prior is outdated. Given what highly regarded Boras pitchers have done lately (Jered Weaver, Rick Porcello), I don’t think a $15-20 million bonus would be out of line. Sure it would be a bad precedent to set for MLB, but if you’re the Nats you need this guy to turn the franchise around.

On a similar note, if you’re Strasburgh, you should be focused on getting good money and signing now in order to begin your career. Pitchers who refuse to sign and re-enter the draft the following year don’t have a great track record. Plus, as Ryan Zimmerman pointed out, Strasburg won’t ever have more leverage:

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Nationals Jump the Gun Extending Ryan Zimmerman for $45 Million

OK, so I see all the positives there with third baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He was a first-round pick by the Nats in ’05 coming out of Virginia. He made it to the majors the same year he was drafted. By his second season he had surpassed the 100 RBI mark, and in ’07 he played in every game belting 24 home runs and scoring 99 runs. And the guy plays good defense, too. So I see how quickly he’s developed his career and why the Nats would have been eager to extend him … three years ago. Now we’re in ’09 and the Nats have garbage pitching, Zimmerman’s coming off an injury, and he hasn’t taken that next step despite showing excellent promise. For all those reasons I’m wondering why the Nationals were so eager to negotiate a five-year $45 million extension for Zimmerman, especially in this economy.

Even two years ago I still would maintain that $45 million is overpaying for Zimmerman — by a good 20-25%. When you’re 2-10 you need to manufacture interest in the club, but this move would make me question the organization even more, not be pleased that the team has signed a “cornerstone” for the next five years. I understand the whole homegrown talent, local kid angle, but an average of $9 million a season for a guy putting up slightly better numbers than Casey Blake makes me scratch my head. The only positive aspect of the deal is Zimmerman’s reaction. The guy clearly has his head on straight:

“It just gets to the point where you think, ‘How much [money] do you really need? How much do you need, and do you really want to be here?’ I think that’s the most important thing,” Zimmerman said earlier this year. “The whole point of being a free agent and having a negotiating power is to play where you want to play. And I don’t really need to go into that. I’m happy here.”

If he does have a good attitude about things it’s probably because he knows he just got some excellent security he really didn’t earn. He’s much closer to Casey Blake than he is to David Wright.

Ryan Zimmerman Goes Golden

You know, if the Nats really want extra coverage on LBS, this is all they really have to do. Contributor JS emails in with the news that his Cubbies handed it to the Nationals on Sunday, giving Ryan Zimmerman the coveted Golden Sombrero. Considering Zimmerman’s the three hitter for the Nats, you wouldn’t ordinarily figure that he’d be taking the Golden Sombrero if it came down to any of the batters in that lineup. You’d probably guess that Austin Kearns, Angel Hernandez, or the likes of Willie Harris would struggle to make contact against top arms like Dick Harden, Carlos Marmol, and Jeff Samardzija. But no, it was Ryan Zimmerman who took the shaft punching out all four times on Sunday.

For Zimmerman, taking the Golden Sombrero was really indicative of the way his whole season’s gone. Zimmerman busted onto the scene in ’06, the year after he was drafted by Washington, driving in 110 runs. His encore performance last year included a 24 home run season. Zimm definitely took a step back this year as he’s been battling a bum shoulder. And in case you were wondering, Zimmerman punched out three times against fireballer Dick Harden, and the final time against Jeff Samardzija. I’m guessing Zimmerman will see better days. Kinda hard to do worse.