Jordan Zimmermann Rumors
Jordan Zimmermann's name has popped up in extension rumors as of late, following a quote from Nationals GM Mike Rizzo stating that he had talked to Zimmernann's agents at SFX about a long-term deal. Zimmermann now tells ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (all Twitter links) that as far as he knows, there are no ongoing negotiations. Rizzo approached Zimmermann's camp, but the talks weren't very in-depth, according to the right-hander. Crasnick adds that Rizzo left the door open in regards to extensions for Zimmermann and Ian Desmond in an interview last week.
Rizzo's comment echoes a sentiment that we heard this offseason: the club would like to retain both Zimmermann and Desmond on long-term contracts. For the time-being, Zimmermann and Desmond are earning $5.35MM and $3.8MM, respectively, after avoiding arbitration and agreeing to one-year deals this offseason.
As MLBTR's Extension Tracker shows, Rizzo is no stranger to negotiating extensions with his stars, having previously hammered out two long-term deals for Ryan Zimmerman as well as a six-year contract for Gio Gonzalez. Rizzo has also worked out a handful of two-year deals for Craig Stammen, Michael Morse and Sean Burnett. I profiled Zimmermann as an extension candidate last week, noting that a five-year, $65MM contract would make sense for both sides, though there's a case for discussions to approach the $80MM range.
On Monday, it was reported that Nationals GM Mike Rizzo has approached Jordan Zimmermann's representatives at SFX about a potential contract extension. While we heard in the offseason that both sides were interested in such a deal, this is the first indication that the two sides have begun talks.
Zimmermann entered the season with three years, 154 days of Major League service time and is controlled through the 2015 season. A Super Two player, the 26-year-old avoided arbitration for the second time this offseason by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $5.35MM.
A look at MLBTR's Extension Tracker shows that few Super Two starters with three-plus years of service time have signed extensions, and none are particularly good comparables. Expanding the search to include non-Super-Two starters with three to five years of service gives a few more examples. Justin Verlander and Felix Hernandez signed five-year extensions worth roughly $80MM that included their final two years of arbitration. Dan Haren, Josh Johnson and Zack Greinke all signed four-year extensions in the neighborhood of $40MM that did the same.
In terms of overall value it seems the Greinke, Haren and Johnson extensions are too light. Zimmermann will likely earn more than $8MM via arbitration in 2014 and should see that salary climb well above $10MM in his final arb year. He doesn't have the track record that Hernandez and Verlander had at the time of their extensions, making $80MM seem rich.
Matt Harrison's five-year, $55MM contract could serve as a framework, but Zimmermann has considerably better numbers at this stage of his career than Harrison possessed when he signed his extension. Harrison's contract seems to be the floor for Zimmermann. Something in the range of $60-65MM over five years seems like a more reasonable target. Such a deal could pay Zimmermann $8MM in 2014, $12MM in 2015 and $14-15MM per free agent season.
Keep in mind, also, that the extensions for Verlander and Hernandez occured prior to the wave of new TV contracts that have left teams with far deeper pockets. Those contracts were also signed under the old CBA, when more players were hitting free agency. Today's game sees more and more good players sign extensions before hitting the open market, which is part of the reason that Zimmermann's case is unprecedented to some extent. Given the influx of cash in the game and the increasing imperative for teams to lock up home-grown talent, the $75-80MM range reached by Verlander and Hernandez in 2010 is probably no longer out of the question.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
For those who are visual-minded baseball fans, the Los Angeles Times has an interactive graphic that allows users to see a side-by-side comparison of two teams' salaries on a position-by-position basis. After you're finished checking out what that looks like when you compare the Astros to the Dodgers and Yankees, here's more from around the league...
- "The handwriting is on the wall" that Brian McCann will be playing for a new team in 2014, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Heyman opines that the strong play of Evan Gattis have given the Braves, who typically operate with a payroll around $90MM, the flexibility to let McCann walk.
- Nationals GM Mike Rizzo told MLB.com's Bill Ladson that he's approached Jordan Zimmermann's agents at SFX about the possibility of a contract extension. We heard earlier in the offseason that the Nats were interested in a long-term deal, but this is the first report of the team beginning negotiations.
- ESPN's Buster Olney reports that the Cubs and Rangers also bid aggressively on Hyun-Jin Ryu this offseason but were blown out of the water by the Dodgers' $25.73MM bid (Twitter link). The Cubs bid $15MM and the Rangers bid $18MM, per Olney.
- Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN examines what has become a strong Twins farm system, highlighting under-the-radar prospects Josmil Pinto and Jorge Polanco. Mackey also spoke with former Twins skipper Tom Kelly about the improvements top prospect Miguel Sano has made defensively at third base.
As the Yankees and Phil Hughes negotiated their one-year, $7.15MM deal for 2013, the topic of an extension hardly came up, writes Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger. As a pitcher, Hughes says that he never expected a long-term deal out of the Yankees before reaching free agency. At the same time, it sounds as though he'd like to stay in the Bronx for the long-term. “The Yankees are the ones who drafted me; they’re like a second family. For me to say I’d be neutral [about leaving New York] would be dishonest," said Hughes. Here's more out of the AL and NL East..
- Jordan Zimmermann would be open to listening on a multi-year extension, but so far nothing has happened on that front, writes Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. The Nationals and the right-hander avoided arbitration with a one-year, $5.35MM deal yesterday.
- Andy Martino of the New York Daily News (on Twitter) believes that Mets Triple-A manager Wally Backman would be a great big league manager, but he has a feeling that it will happen elsewhere and not with the Mets. If the Mets don't bring back Terry Collins next year, Martino expects the club to go with a younger skipper.
- Jair Jurrjens' contract with the Orioles is now a minor league deal rather than a guaranteed pact, but the pitcher says he's not overly concerned about it, writes Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. The two sides first agreed to a $1.5MM contract with incentives potentially pushing the figure to $4MM, but red flags on his physical led to the O's insisting on a reworked deal.
6:12pm: Zimmermann will receive $5.35MM from the Nationals for the 2013 season, reports Bill Ladson of MLB.com (via Twitter). The salary represents a $150K increase over the figure Zimmermann would have received if he met the Nationals at the financial midpoint of both offers.
4:40pm: The Nationals announced that they have avoided arbitration with Jordan Zimmermann by agreeing to a one-year deal. Terms of the deal are not yet known for the SFX client.
Zimmermann, 26, said earlier this week that he and the Nationals were still far apart on a deal and GM Mike Rizzo had similar comments on Wednesday. The hurler filed for $5.8MM while the Nats countered with $4.6MM. Zimmermann posted a 2.94 ERA with 7.0 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 across 32 starts last season for Washington.
With Zimmermann under contract, the Nats have now settled with all of their arbitration eligible players this winter.
Daniel Seco contributed to this post.
- Despite Gio Gonzalez's alleged link to a Miami PED clinic and the potential fallout that could come from that, the Nats aren't looking to acquire a big-name arm as insurance. Rizzo says that he is always looking for depth, but the news about Gonzalez didn't "intensify" anything for the front office.
- However, the club could look to make a significant move if an injury or something else unforeseen creates a need. "If you're talking about a big-time trade or a big-time free agent acquisition, I would think that would have to be something that was set off by something that happens here in camp," the GM said. "But we're always looking to get ourselves better and deeper, and if there's something to be done that makes sense for us, we'll certainly doing it."
- Rizzo says that the Nats and Jordan Zimmermann are still a little ways apart in negotiations for a contract for the 2013 season. The right-hander made similar comments earlier this week.
- Braves president John Schuerholz told Mark Bowman of MLB.com that the idea of acquiring both Upton brothers “probably would have been a little too much to hope for” at the outset of the offseason. Even so, Braves scouts and executives weren’t discouraged. “Nobody stopped working because we thought it was unrealistic to get it done,” Schuerholz explained. “We just kept working harder to get it done.”
- Jordan Zimmermann's arbitration hearing has been set for February 19th, Bill Ladson of MLB.com reports (on Twitter). The right-hander filed for $5.8MM with the Nationals countering at $4.6MM, as MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker shows. Zimmermann says he and the Nationals have made "a little progress" toward a one-year deal, Dan Kolko of MASNsports.com reports (on Twitter). The sides haven't engaged in long-term talks.
- Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News notes that two of the Phillies' offseason additions -- Delmon Young and Michael Young -- could be defensive liabilities in 2013. It's far from a given that the Phillies will be adequate defensively with Delmon in right field and Michael at third base.
Here's the latest news and stories making headlines out of Washington...
- Jordan Zimmermann and the Nationals continue to discuss financial figures for the right-hander, but the two sides remain far apart in their conversations, says Amanda Comak of The Washington Times (on Twitter). While Zimmermann would be open to a long-term contract, he wants to first address his arbitration deal for the upcoming season, according to Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com (via Twitter).
- Nationals GM Mike Rizzo says there's nothing new to report regarding free agent Javier Vazquez's status, writes Dan Kolko of MASNSports.com (on Twitter). The veteran made mention of his desire to play for a contender earlier this month, but stated that he would not rush into signing with a team.
- Outfielder Denard Span, acquired this offseason from the Twins, enters the season highly optimistic about the Nationals' chances come October, says Bill Ladson of MLB.com.
- Phillies GM Ruben Amaro said he spoke to Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers about Upton but didn't make any progress towards a trade, David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News reports. "We just didn't really see a fit," Amaro said. "We communicated a few times with K.T. Clearly, what he was looking for and what we were willing to give were a little different."
- Nationals GM Mike Rizzo discussed some of the building blocks behind his team's rise to success with Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, including investing in the draft and having the flexibility to sign veterans to short-term contracts. Rizzo anticipates that the Nats won't have any problems affording some of their key young players as they become more expensive.
- Rizzo also told reporters (including MLB.com's Bill Ladson) that the Nationals were open to multiyear contracts with Jordan Zimmermann and Ian Desmond, as was reported earlier this week. Rizzo left the door open to potentially acquire another starting pitcher but said that he's happy with his rotation as it currently stands.
- The Marlins have made a minor league contract offer to Pat White, the former Miami Dolphins quarterback told Orlando Alzugaray of 640 Sports (passed on by Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel). White was originally picked in the fourth round of the 2004 amateur draft by the Angels and, after his NFL career ended, he signed a minor league deal with the Royals in 2010.
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.