- Eric Karabell, ESPN.com Senior Writer
The details regarding Ryan Zimmerman's shoulder injury are starting to become a bit clearer, and it's actually possible that if the Washington Nationals move him over to first base, at least on a part-time basis, there really could be no statistical losers here. Zimmerman, the still-productive third baseman with a painful, arthritic throwing shoulder, should return to the lineup soon, but at least some of the time he figures to be wearing a first baseman's glove. The Nationals aren't blind to what's going on, and say what you will about the injury history of Zimmerman, an annual top-10 fantasy third baseman owned in all leagues, but he has played in 142 or more games in four of the past five seasons, and he still hits.
The problem is when he throws. Zimmerman's right shoulder is an issue for him and pitchers, and when you watch him throw from the safety of your own sofa, your own shoulder begins to throb and you worry the ball will plunk a poor fan in the third row. Zimmerman often plays shallow at third base to compensate for his bum shoulder, and while he doesn't pile on the errors, there are certainly plays he cannot get to. Frankly, and I don't see this discussed anywhere, Zimmerman has become a bit like Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera in this regard, unable to handle the hot corner, though unlike Cabrera, Zimmerman used to be Gold Glove-caliber. He'll be better than Cabrera at first base, but then again, you or I would be better, too.
Fantasy owners can gain from this unfortunate situation, in both shallow and deep formats.