Jordan Zimmermann Rumors
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 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.
Jordan 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.
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:
- The Cardinals avoided arbitration with pitcher Kyle McClellan, tweets B.J. Rains of FOX Sports Midwest. Joe Strauss of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports (on Twitter) that the one-year deal is worth $2.5MM with incentives based on starts. MLBTR projected a $2.7MM for the Steve Comte client.
- MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith reports (on Twitter) that the Padres and Chase Headley agreed to a one-year deal worth $3.475MM, avoiding arbitration. Earlier this evening, the Padres announced that they avoided arbitration with Luke Gregerson, Edinson Volquez, Carlos Quentin and Will Venable. They also avoided arbitration with lefty reliever Joe Thatcher on a deal worth $700K, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. CAA announced catcher John Baker has signed for $750K. Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune first reported that the Padres reached agreements with Hundley, Chase Headley, and Tim Stauffer. Hundley will earn $2MM in 2012, MLB.com's Corey Brock tweets. Dan Hayes of the North County Times tweets the salaries for Volquez ($2.2375MM), Venable ($1.475MM), Gregerson ($1.55MM)
- The Rangers avoided arbitration with Matt Harrison, tweets Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News. The ACES client gets $2.95MM on a one-year deal. MLBTR had projected a $2.9MM salary.
- The Cubs announced that they have avoided arbitration with Jeff Baker ($1.375MM), Blake DeWitt ($1.1MM), Ian Stewart ($2.237MM) Chris Volstad ($2.655MM), and Randy Wells ($2.705MM). MLB.com's Carrie Muskat tweeted the salary figures.
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 Clippard. Ryan Roberts is also a Super Two, so he could be in line for an extra payday in the wake of his breakout 2011 season.
- Jose Arredondo, Reds, 2.168
- Scott Atchison, Red Sox, 2.168
- Daniel Bard, Red Sox, 2.148
- Brad Bergesen, Orioles, 2.147
- Emmanuel Burriss, Giants, 2.152
- Tyler Clippard, Nationals, 2.148
- Dexter Fowler, Rockies, 2.168
- Gio Gonzalez, Athletics, 2.162
- Garrett Jones, Pirates, 2.158
- Don Kelly, Tigers, 2.149
- George Kottaras, Brewers, 2.149
- Steven Pearce, Pirates, 2.165
- Rick Porcello, Tigers, 2.170
- Landon Powell, Athletics, 2.153
- David Price, Rays, 2.164
- Ryan Roberts, Diamondbacks, 2.150
- Adam Rosales, Athletics, 2.171
- Will Venable, Padres, 2.155
- Jordan Zimmermann, Nationals, 2.154
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.
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:
- The Nationals announced that they have renewed the contracts of right-handers Tyler Clippard and Jordan Zimmermann.
- The Marlins renewed the contracts of four of their own players, according to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post (on Twitter). The team did not agree to terms with Logan Morrison, Gaby Sanchez, Mike Stanton or Ryan Webb.
- Yahoo's Jeff Passan shows that Jason Heyward is uncharacteristically mature for a 21-year-old. The Braves right fielder tells Passan that he can improve upon his standout rookie season, something that would please new manager Fredi Gonzalez.
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).
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...
- The Rangers made what was considered an aggressive offer for Greinke at the winter meetings only to learn that they fell way short of Kansas City's demands.
- The Nationals were informed that in order to land Greinke, they would have to part with Jordan Zimmermann, Drew Storen, and Danny Espinosa. Rival executives expect the asking price to come down in the weeks ahead.
- Orlando Cabrera is open to returning to the Twins. Minnesota just finalized a contract with Tsuyoshi Nishioka, but right now Alexi Casilla is penciled in as their everyday shortstop.
- The Astros were very much in on Orlando Hudson before he chose San Diego and they signed Bill Hall.
The Mariners could presumably ask for a king’s ransom in exchange for Felix Hernandez, but Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports thinks Seattle should build around the reigning Cy Young Award winner, not trade him. Here are the rest of Rosenthal's rumors:
- The Cubs are still willing to trade Kosuke Fukudome, but they’d likely have to cover some of the $13.5MM the outfielder is set to earn in 2011.
- Were it not for his salary, the Reds might be a more serious suitor for Zack Greinke. However, a rival executive says Cincinnati is “tapped out,” payroll-wise.
- The Nationals’ pursuit of Greinke has slowed and one source says it’s because of the team’s reluctance to include Jordan Zimmermann in a potential deal.
- Adrian Beltre remains a “focus” for the Angels.
- The Rangers, however, are more inclined to re-sign Vladimir Guerrero and add a first baseman than pursue Beltre, according to Rosenthal’s sources.
- Don’t expect Texas to spend on a top free agent reliever, even if Neftali Feliz moves to the rotation.
- Kerry Wood wants a two-year, $12MM deal, Rosenthal reports.
- Another former Yankee, Carl Pavano, is searching for considerably more. He wants a three-year deal worth $10-11MM per season, one GM says. The Rangers are not pursuing Pavano right now.
The Nationals are "aggressively pursuing" a trade for Matt Garza or Zack Greinke, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. However, Kilgore’s source doesn’t expect Washington to trade for either pitcher. Earlier today, ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick reported that Royals GM Dayton Moore is actively gauging the market for Greinke.
The Rays and Royals could have interest in Ian Desmond and Jordan Zimmermann, but the Nationals are not likely to move either player. However, Kilgore hears that the team would move Danny Espinosa “in a heartbeat.” Roger Bernadina would be available and it’s possible that the Nationals would consider trading Drew Storen or Sean Burnett, according to Kilgore.