Jordan Zimmermann Rumors

Nats Open To Extensions For Zimmermann, Desmond

The Nationals have agreed to 2013 contracts with six of their seven arbitration-eligible players. Jordan Zimmermann is the lone exception, and Adam Kilgore and James Warner of the Washington Post report that the Nationals are interested in multi-years deal for Zimmermann and teammate Ian Desmond. Desmond agreed to a $3.8MM salary last week, avoiding arbitration in his first year of eligibility.

Zimmermann, 26, filed for $5.8MM, and Washington countered with a $4.6MM offer. General manager Mike Rizzo said he's hopeful of avoiding an arbitration hearing with Zimmermann but will go to hearing if it's necessary. As a Super Two player, Zimmermann is eligible for arbitration for the second time this offseason. He earned $2.3MM this past season as a first-time eligible player.

Zimmermann pitched to a 2.94 ERA with a 7.0 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 in 195 1/3 innings in 2012. Rizzo told Kilgore and Warner that he approached Zimmermann about an extension prior to the 2012 season, but there have been no negotiations since. Zimmermann is under team control through 2016.

Desmond, 27, enjoyed a breakout 2012 season in which he batted .292/.335/.511 with 25 home runs and 21 stolen bases. He, like Zimmermann, is under team control through the 2016 season. The Nationals approached Desmond about a long-term deal midseason but were told by the shortstop that he'd prefer to table discussions until the offseason.


Arbitration Filing Numbers

Many players will avoid arbitration today, and dozens of others exchanged figures with their teams in anticipation of hearings. Most cases won't go to arbitration hearings, but teams such as the Rays, Marlins, Blue Jays and Braves are known for their 'file and trial' policies. For players on those teams this marks the last chance at negotiations before a hearing.

MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker will keep you up to date on every one of the filing numbers from around the game, but here are the highlights — players who filed for $4MM or more. Now for the details…


Nats Considering Extension For Jordan Zimmermann

The Nationals have "dabbled in preliminary conversations" with SFX, the representatives for Jordan Zimmermann according to Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post. The team has not yet reached out to the right-hander about a long-term deal, but he would be open to one.

“I haven’t talked to the Nationals about it,” Zimmermann said. “I’d be interested. I’ll just play it out and see what happens. I’m just going to go out and pitch the way I can pitch. Everything will take care of itself.”

Zimmerman, 25, can not become a free agent until after the 2015 season. He was arbitration-eligible for the first time as a Super Two this offseason, and will make $2.3MM this year. Zimmerman missed most of 2010 with Tommy John surgery, but he returned to post a 3.18 ERA in 161 1/3 innings last season. Back in February I suggested that a four-year deal worth $22-25MM could work for both sides.

The Nationals signed Gio Gonzalez (five years, $42MM) and Ryan Zimmerman (eight years, $126MM) to long-term deals this winter.



Extension Candidate: Jordan Zimmermann

The Nationals have been one of baseball's most active teams this offseason, signing both Edwin Jackson and Brad Lidge in addition to trading for and extending Gio Gonzalez. GM Mike Rizzo doesn't have to worry about the top of his rotation for a while since Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg are under control through 2016, but another one of the club's young starters can hit the open market a year earlier.

Icon_12916043Jordan Zimmermann qualified as a Super Two by little more than a week this offseason, meaning he'll be eligible for arbitration four times instead of the usual three. The two sides agreed to a $2.3MM salary for 2012 as our Arbitration Tracker shows, working out a deal before salary figures had to be exchanged. The 25-year-old right-hander broke out last season, pitching to a 3.18 ERA with 6.9 K/9 and 1.7 BB/9 with a 39.4% ground ball rate in 161 1/3 innings across 26 starts. His 8-11 record doesn't do his actual performance justice.

Although he has nearly three full years of service time, Zimmermann only has about a year and a half worth of big league starts to his credit. He missed part of 2009 and most of 2010 due to Tommy John surgery, but players do collect service time while on the DL. The injury and subsequent lack of innings kept his salary down this winter, and that will have a trickle down effect in future years since he's starting with a lower base salary.

As our Extension Tracker shows, the typical extension for pitchers with 2-3 years of service time has been in the four-year, $30MM range with one or two club options that buy out free agent years. Jon Lester, Yovani Gallardo, Ricky Romero, Clay Buchholz, Trevor Cahill, and Jaime Garcia all signed contracts with that framework. Zimmermann lags behind those guys in counting stats like innings and wins due to the elbow surgery, though his strikeout and walk rates match up with any of them at the time of their extensions. ERA as well.

A four-year deal for Zimmermann figures to check in a bit under $30MM given his injury history, so perhaps $22-25MM or so. That would cover his four arbitration years, and the club options could come in around the usual $10-12MM based on those similar pitchers. Zimmermann and the Nationals are in a unique position because his salaries are depressed by his elbow surgery, and the team could take advantage of that by signing him long-term at an even further reduced rate.

Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.


Players Avoiding Arbitration: Tuesday

Dozens of arbitration eligible players have agreed to deals with their respective teams today and we've been tracking all of the developments right here.  Several teams, including the Rays, Nationals, Marlins, White Sox, Blue Jays, Braves, and perhaps Astros, are known for committing to going to hearings if they get to the point of filing.  Keep track of all the madness with MLBTR's arbitration tracker, which shows settlement amounts, filing figures, and midpoints.  Today's players to avoid arbitration on deals worth less than $4MM:

(more…)


David Price Among Those Reaching Super Two Status

Players with two years and 146 days of Major League service time will qualify for Super Two status, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes has learned.  This was the same cutoff point that was predicted by CAA in April, and as MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith wrote six months ago, it is "a decidedly late cutoff."  In 2010, the cutoff date was two years and 122 days of service, while the 2009 cutoff was two years and 139 days.

Click here to refresh yourself on the details of the Super Two process, but to summarize, Super Two players will earn a fourth year of salary arbitration (as opposed to the usual three) before reaching free agency.  So, all players with less than three years of service time but at least 2.146 (two years, 146 days) of service time quality as Super Twos.

This year's crop of Super Twos includes some of the top young arms in the game — David Price, Rick Porcello, Daniel Bard, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann and Tyler ClippardRyan Roberts is also a Super Two, so he could be in line for an extra payday in the wake of his breakout 2011 season.


Nationals Notes: Strasburg, Harper, Zimmermann

The Nationals expect Stephen Strasburg to return to the Major Leagues one week from today. Here are some links from D.C. in the meantime… 

  • Nationals manager Davey Johnson told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that he intends to handle Strasburg with "kid gloves" as the right-hander completes his return from the Tommy John surgery he underwent last September.
  • Livan Hernandez said today that he wants to return to Washington in 2012, even if it means working in middle relief next year, Kilgore reports (on Twitter).
  • Top 2010 draft pick Bryce Harper will suit up for the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League this year, MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo writes. Harper, who made it to Double-A in his first professional season, is now recovering from a hamstring injury. 
  • Kilgore suggests Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann could be an extension candidate this offseason. Zimmermann, a likely super two player, came back from Tommy John surgery to put together a fantastic season in 2011, but he has now reached his innings limit for the year.
  • For a look at a key member of the Nationals' front office, check out MLBTR's piece on GM candidate Bryan Minniti.

NL East Notes: Zimmermann, Marlins, Heyward

Players with zero to three years of service time are under team control and don't have the power to negotiate their salaries. Most of these players agree to terms with their clubs on deals worth $400-500K, but some don't agree to terms and their clubs renew their contracts instead (it doesn't affect the player's timeline for arbitration or free agency). Here's the latest on the NL East, including news on some contract renewals:


Greinke Links: Nationals, Yankees, Pavano, Reactions

It's not often that the Brewers and Royals are the two teams dominating discussion around baseball, but that's exactly what's happening today, after the clubs agreed to a blockbuster deal. Let's check out some reactions and a few more details on the trade that will send Zack Greinke to Milwaukee….

  • According to Yahoo's Tim Brown (via Twitter), the Dodgers were discussing Greinke and even brought a third team into the mix in an attempt to meet Kansas City's needs. Ultimately, they ran out of time.
  • SI.com's Jon Heyman reports that the Royals were close to a deal that would've sent Greinke to Washington, if not for the right-hander's no-trade clause. MLB.com's Bill Ladson confirms that Greinke turned down a potential trade to the Nationals (Twitter links). Heyman adds that Drew Storen and Danny Espinosa likely would've been involved in the hypothetical deal (Twitter link).
  • Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post hears that the Royals coveted Jordan Zimmermann, who the Nats were reluctant to give up.
  • Heyman tweets that Greinke approved the Brewers and not the Nats because he believes Milwaukee is closer to serious contention. He's also apparently fond of the city.
  • According to Heyman (via Twitter), Greinke told the Royals that he wouldn't mind playing for the Yankees, but New York never got close to making a trade for the Kansas City ace.
  • The Brewers had some interest in Carl Pavano, who they presumably won't pursue now. As such, the Twins' leverage with Pavano should improve, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
  • Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets that the $2MM going to Milwaukee will cover the buyout for Yuniesky Betancourt's 2012 option, if the Brewers choose to buy him out.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports praises Brewers GM Doug Melvin for choosing an established player over prospects. Rosenthal also examines the trade from the Royals' perspective.
  • With Prince Fielder a year from free agency, Melvin saw the team's window for playoff contention closing and moved aggressively to improve the 2011 roster, writes Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.
  • Fangraphs' Marc Hulet breaks down the package acquired by Kansas City, noting that their haul is "certainly quantity over quality." In an Insider-only article, ESPN.com's Keith Law makes a similar point, calling the Royals' return "bulk, and fit, but not impact."
  • Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus and two front office people he spoke to "really like" the move for the Royals (Twitter link).

Olney’s Latest: Greinke, Cabrera, Astros

In today's blog post at ESPN (Insider req'd), Buster Olney says that the first day of Spring Training acts as an artificial deadline for the Royals to trade Zack Greinke. At that point he will show up to the clubhouse and dominate the team's storyline. Olney likens it to the Johan Santana situation from a few years ago, when the Twins felt pressure to move him before pitchers and catchers reported. He adds that Greinke's performance would then be under intense scrutiny, even during Spring Training, and if he pitches poorly his trade value will plummet.

Here are the rest of Olney's rumors…