TODAY, 11:33am: The deal is backloaded, per another Heyman tweet. Zimmermann will take home $18MM apiece in the first two years, then earn $24MM in 2018, and receive $25MM apiece over the contract’s last two campaigns.
7:30am: Zimmermann gets full no-trade protection for three years, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (Twitter links). In the final two years of the contract, Zimmermann will be able to name a ten-team pre-approval list but otherwise block any movement.
Heyman notes that this provision was “key” to getting a contract done. The righty is, of course, a native of Wisconsin, and was drawn by the chance to settle his young family in the broader midwest region without having to worry about being shipped elsewhere.
The contract’s hefty trade protection helps to explain its allure at this still-early stage of the winter. As explained below, there was some cause to believe that Zimmermann could achieve a sixth guaranteed year, but it appears he was willing to part with some pure earning upside to control his destiny (for the most part) over the life of the deal.
YESTERDAY: Having already bolstered their bullpen with the acquisition of Francisco Rodriguez, the Tigers made a move to fortify their rotation on Monday, officially announcing the signing of Jordan Zimmermann to a five-year contract. The Relativity Sports client will reportedly receive $110MM over the life of the contract.
Earlier this offseason, MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes rated Zimmermann as the seventh best free agent available this winter and predicted that he could net a six-year, $126MM contract. A reliable righty, Zimmermann’s stock fell slightly this season due to a decline in his strike out and whiff rates from 2014. He also reverted to a league average HR/FB ratio, leading to a higher-than-normal 3.66 ERA. The 29-year-old right-hander (30 in May), has a career 3.32 ERA with 7.43 K/9 and 1.82 BB/9 in over 1,000 innings. His most recent campaign for the Nationals included similar numbers in 201 innings with the aforementioned regression in home run rate.
Zimmermann was shut down early in 2011, his first year back from Tommy John surgery, as the Nationals sought to build up his innings, but he has been quite durable ever since. In the last four years, Zimmermann has made at least 32 starts each season while compiling 810 1/3 total innings. Though he’s never put up gaudy single-season inning tallies, he is fifth in the game in total starts since the beginning of 2012 and ranks 12th in total frames over that span.
Zimmermann has also performed well in limiting platoon splits. He’s been slightly better against righties historically, of course, but has handle opposite-handed hitters in equivalent manner in most regards. Lefties do draw walks at a higher rate (2.3 vs. 1.4 BB/9), but their overall production has not been markedly greater (.310 vs. .286 wOBA).
There’s a lot to like, but 2015 undoubtedly represented a step back for the righty, and not just in the earned run department. Zimmermann’s 3.66 ERA was by far the highest full-season mark of his career, and his FIP (3.75), xFIP (3.82), and SIERA (3.83) marks all landed a fair sight over his career averages.
Detroit once boasted an elite rotation but after losing Max Scherzer and David Price in recent seasons, they’ve been in need of reinforcements. Additionally, Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez have become unreliable due to injuries and performance decline. Now, the Tigers figure to have a stronger rotation in 2016 and beyond thanks to the addition of Zimmermann, who becomes the first pitcher to receive a $100MM+ deal after having previously undergone Tommy John surgery. Adam Wainwright set the previous watermark with his five-year, $97.5MM extension signed in 2013.
Zimmermann rejected a qualifying offer from the Nationals, so the Tigers will have to sacrifice a draft pick in order to sign him. The Tigers select ninth overall – a protected pick – so they would surrender their second pick. Likewise, the Nationals will receive a compensatory pick between the first and second rounds of the 2016 draft.
Jon Morosi of FOX Sports first reported that the two sides were in talks. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported that there was an agreement in place (on Twitter). Morosi reported the $110MM figure (on Twitter), and ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick added that there were no options on the straight five-year pact (Twitter link).
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
This is great!
And the first domino has fallen. Be interesting to see what the $ was. He will kind of set the bar for the non-Prices and Greinkes on the market this year. Good sign for Al Avila and the Tigers though.
Just Another Fan
Can’t wait to see the deal – this one sets the table for everyone else.
If 5/110 is for Zimmerman that puts Greinke or Price up to 6/200. Crazy amount. This is a big over pay for a #2 starter.
Just Another Fan
Overpay? You are out of your mind. This is the biggest steal of the offseason right here.
Waaaaaay too early to say that. 1) the offseason is barely heating up, and 2) we’ll see how he does in the AL before we can say this is a steal. If he keeps pitching how he did this year over the next 5….. this could actually be an overpay.
actually if he gives you 5 years under 4 era its not really an overpay.
If you are just wanting an ERA under 4 at $22M annually you must have DEEEEEEEP pockets…… and low expectations. $20+ mil pitchers IMO should be at least in the 3.50 ERA range.
Oh I agree with you 100%. Im just saying if he gave you innings and an ERA under 4 I would say that it wouldnt be an overpay. You would be surprised to know that less than 60 starters last year had an era under 4. Thats less than 2 starters per team.
Your expectations are really low. Under 4? Look at his salary again
JZ will have a lower ERA and more wins in Detroit with a much better D than he’s ever had.
Looks like a good deal right now for sure, I agree
He’s not that far off. 22 million a year is pretty crazy for a #2 starter. However, each year the inflation rises for starting pitching.
Overpay? People were projecting pretty much this exact contract, if not 5 for 22 per then 6 years at 21 per. The tigers essentially paid market price, meaning it in no way effects any other FA pitchers value at the moment. The predicted $16-17 mil for the Samardzija and Leake type guys is still looking on point as well as the wider range of $27-31M/yr for Greinke and Price. Market value is market value. Zimmermann has VERY solid numbers. I don’t get how you can say 1) he’s overpaid, and 2) a #2 starter. His numbers are comparable (if not better) to Lester’s and Lester is considered a #1. If anything this is a steal since Lester gets paid about $25.8M/year….. $3.8M more than Zimmermann for the next 5 years.
Lester just put up a 5-win season at age 31. Zimmermann just put up a 3-win season at age 29. Lester was considerably better
Also, every contract matters for your tier. Cueto’s agent would have liked Zimmermann to have signed for more.
way to compare only one season. Yes, we know that Lester was better LAST year.
Zimmermann: 14.0 fWAR
Lester: 12.0 fWAR
The gap from 2015 (2 wins) still exists.
Meanwhile in 2016 Lester is projected for 4.4 wins. Zimmermann 3.0 (per Steamer).
He’s one heck of a #2 starter though. He’s easily worth that kind of money in today’s game. They didn’t have to overpay in AAV or duration.
Arc89 is clueless with his overpay comment.
Just Another Fan
If it is 5/110 then the Tigers robbed him blind. Pretty sure the Giants would have given him more than that.
He’ll probably have to get on part-time with the grounds crew to make ends meet.
Just Another Fan
And youre on what site now? Predictable comment – yes yes, every single player in MLB makes more money than the President of the United States, lets move away from this…
Now if a #2 starter is worth over $20 million a year that means #3 starters are going to go after $18 million a year. So we will end up with $10 million a year #5 starters. So your rotation will cost about $70 million a year. This is why any pitcher that is a ace of the staff and in arbitration years will not get traded unless its a big over pay.
JA Happ just got 12M a year, so yes, a 5th starter costs 10M a year.
Happ is better than a 5th starter. A solid #4 with a bit of upside
That is a valid point but it still can put $10MM as a 5th starter.
scott feldman got 2/26 and hes a number 5
Just Another Fan
I cant stand the concept of “#1 starter” “#2 starter” – in practice the best SP in a rotation often isn’t even the first one used. Really wish we’d just judge pitchers off their stats and not some weird concept that isn’t even used in reality.
Zimmermann’s numbers over the last 4 years say he should be making $25M a year. At least.
Zimmerman is a number 3 starter going forward
This is why no one builds an entire rotation through free agency.
I’d say this is a complete steal. A lot of projections had him making about $130MM-$140MM. Great pickup for the Tigers.
I have seen 0 predictions at that value. Everywhere I’ve seen had him pegged at about $20-22M annually…. $23 tops. As for length I think every prediction I saw had him at 6 years. In no way is this a steal. It is just a market value contract.
Pretty sure the Giants didn’t offer him more than that. That would be why he’s a Tiger.
Sweet, now let’s see how everyone else reacts. This could be an interesting week heading into the winter meetings. Looks like I’ll be less productive at work 🙂
this just shook up the market for other teams, I was pretty sure the cubs would of went after him. now the dodgers and giants have to make other moves. Imo the tigers needed bullpen help the most
They did(and still do need another bullpen arm), but they needed rotation help as well. The only locks to be in the starting rotation next year were Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez. Some would argue Daniel Norris is also a lock(and I’m 95% sure he’ll be in there too)… but they had no one else to start.
This solidifies that rotation a bit figuring JV, Zimm, Sanchez, Norris, ?. That last spot could be a cheaper FA(like Chen for example) or one of the kids who we’re not quite sure on(Fulmer, Boyd, Lobstein, Ryan, Greene).
I think this move pushes the giants to go after Greinke and snag him away from the dodgers.
If the Dodgers want Greinke, they’ll get him. It’s a question of whether they let the Giants “snag” him or not,
I believe they will, the dodgers want to lower their payroll
They dropped over 100M from last year to this year. They’re fine.
I think they let him walk, they won’t give him what he wants because of his age, they might replace him with Cueto or in house options like de leon and maybe Urias if he is ready, I don’t see greinke going back to the dodgers.
Boros says Chen needs “Porcello type money” He wanted the bidding to start at $22-23MM. If this signing is 5/110, Boros will need to go back to the drawing board.
Chen won’t be that much cheaper and he’ll be a lot better in Comerica.
I would love for the Tigers to now also get Chen. Solid lefty in a big park and Detroit only losing a 3rd rounder.It won’t happen.
They need to get 2 good BP pieces and may go with Norris and another rookie at # 4-5.
Chen is not a “cheaper FA”. He is the 2nd best lefty starter, after Price. I’d peg him at just a notch below Zimmermans contract. 20MM is within reach. I would like to see them take a shot at Latos.
Zimmermann, Verlander, Sanchez and Norris has the makings to being the top rotation in the AL. I’d rather have Zimmermann at ~6/126M than Price at 7/210M.
I am shocked, i was pretty sure the cubs were going to sign him
The best? All 4, especially verlander, Sanchez, and Norris have severe question marks? I’d say middle of pack and that maybe optimistic. Zimmerman and Verlander are no aces.
While I’d agree Zimmerman is not an ace(still a 2 or 3 type)… Verlander was an ace not too long ago. He had an injury season(2014) and was still recovering from surgery into the spring last year. The second half of the season last year he was lights out.
If he can come back like that(I hope)… there’s the Detroit ace
That’s a lot of if’s….
If Verlander can pitch like he did in the second half of 2015
That is a huge if however, Tigers could very well have 0 top 30 starters in the majors. Zimmerman has had 1 top of rotation season by fWAR or DWARP. Norris still has to learn to throw strikes, and Verlander is about to be 33 with a bunch of innings on his belt, it was a nice second half last year but counting on him to be a ace is a bad idea. I do like the Tigers young depth with fulmer and Buck. Tigers should be pleased if the rotation is middle of the pack.
Just Another Fan
Zimmermann finished 5th and 7th in Cy Young voting in 2013+14, those don’t count in “top of rotation seasons”?
His season in 2013 was vastly overrated
Just Another Fan
He finished 7th in Cy voting that year, looks about right to me.
“have the making to be”
If Verlander is Verlander, Sanchez bounces back, Norris reaches his potential and Zimmermann pitches how he did in 2014, whos going to be better?
Just Another Fan
The Rangers have Hamels, Darvish, Holland, Perez and we are way too early to be talking about “who’s best” – save this convo for March please.
Not sure how anybody can say that Ranger line up has any less injury ??? than the Tigers.
And if cows can jump over the moon.
Come on man, way too many ifs!
You can play that game with 25 teams. The odds are very slim to say the least.
I’m saying that have a better chance that atleast 10-12 of the AL teams. Yes, the Indians, Rangers, Astros and White Sox could all very much be better, but if a few things go the Tigers way, they can be a really good rotation. I’m not saying the Tigers are a clear cut best.
All four have serious upside.
1. JV finally recovered from injury after almost 2 years of not being at 100% and dominated in the second half. He is the exact same age as Greinke.
2. Norris also dominated in the second half and he is only 22.
3. Sanchez is injury prone. But is only a #3.
4. Zimmermann started 32 or 33 times each of the last 4 years with an average WAR of 4. Tigers #4 and #5 pitchers last year were below replacement level last year and the bullpen got taxed big time.
I agree buddie….way too optimistic about this being a high level rotation.
Zimmerman may be nothing more that what everyone saw last year. Remember let’s see how this National League pitcher translates to the hitting happy American League with the DH. No soft spots in AL lineups.
That’s not even the best rotation in the division.
All hypothetical. Let play some games. All four have the potential to be very good pitchers… lets see what happens if the Tigers actually have some luck for once.
I think this move will push the giants to sign greinke
Just Another Fan
I think the Dodgers or Red Sox will get Zack.
I don’t agree with both, the dodgers want to lower the payroll, and I don’t think greinke could handle the media in boston
Just Another Fan
He handled it in LA, which is also brutal.
I think he’s over his issues from almost 10 years ago too. He’s proved it, and its kind of insulting to bring it up like it still means anything.
I never said it was the best rotation, I said it could be the best rotation.
Hey, send Santa to my house after he visits yours!
I’m saying they can be the best rotation. Who is a clear cut better that doesn’t have any ifs?
I’d take Seattle, Houston, Texas, Cleveland, Tampa bay, even the blue Jays over detroits
You’d take Stroman, Chavez, Estrada, Happ and Dickey over Verlander, Zimmermann, Sanchez, Norris and Boyd? Really?
We’d agree to disagree then.
To be fair, Stroman could be their next ace, Dickey is always a wild card and could be lights out, Estrada pitched like an ace last year, Happ and Chavez probably will both be around 3.80-4.20 ERA. Could be better than the tigers, but probably wont be. (Im a jays fan) haha.
That might be true, but what other team with a better rotation has the offense to support it. Only KC has had the offense and its SP pitching needs help. They also lost some good BP pieces. Things seem to be leveling out.
well I guess your counting on the Verlander that everyone saw at the end of last year rather than he first half. And, Sanchez probably will continue his decline.
Potential is a very good thing….unfortunately while you may be right, you may be dead wrong and Detroit may be “sellers” at the trade deadline.
Every team could be “sellers” at the deadline Who do you say is a lock to avoid being sellers and is in a better position to avoid the “decline”
Let’s see how the NL Zimmerman translates to the hitting happy AL.
No soft spots in these lineups. If hitting from top to bottom in the AL.
He may excel, or he may be nothing more than an expensive 4-5 starter.
even better at 5/110
Excellent move… assuming they are signing him near the projected amount.
Avila has a style of “take it or leave it and we move on… seriously”. Zimmermann has taken it.
32 or 33 starts per year, each of the last 4 years. Excellent innings eater that will help the bullpen tremendously. Will keep the Tigers in the game for 80% of the games he pitches in. He and Verlander can both be “1As”, which is fine for the regular season.
Only negative? This is likely the largest contract given to a TJ surgery player.
Just Another Fan
Avila has been a GM for 4 months and you’re making up narratives for him already?
Good. Mets in 2016
Seems like a good fit. I’ll reserve judgement until we get more contract details
LETSSSS GOOOO DETROIT
I like it(depending on length and money). As long as it’s near the projected, its a solid signing for a top to mid rotation starter to slot into the number 2/3 spot in the rotation.
Hopefully either Greene is healed up. Or Boyd/Fulmer are ready and they can slot into the 5th spot. Just need a bullpen arm and(hopefully) a LF with a decent bat
If they paid 126 for 6 years, they could have spent the money better. That is 36 million higher than his value.
Really? Point to a pitcher this free agent season that will sign for that amount that is better than Zimmermann.
Even guys like Porcello signed for over $100MM last year.
This will make things fun in the AL Central. Especially for my Twins
Seems like a good fit for both sides
5/110M? thats a bit of a steal right there. hes getting 45M less than Lester?
If that is the contract then that is a steal, I think he could of gotten more if he waited
Seeing as he isnt nearly as good as Lester it’s futting
Backwards, dude. He’s better than Lester.
Excuse me? He’s most certainly not better than Lester. Like at all.
Just Another Fan
Except he is. Lester can’t even throw to first.
Oh yeah, stats….
In the 4 years before Lester signed his deal:
830 IP, 3.61 ERA 3.56 FIP.
Zimmermans last 4 years:
811 IP, 3.13 ERA, 3.33 FIP.
Zimmerman is kinda better than Lester. Shows how much Boston media hype is worth to a player in actual monetary value. If Lester played on the Royals, he’d barely have scraped $100M.
Lol, but that includes a 2012 anomaly that was by far the worst season of his career. Which I guess still counts because it happened, but I guarantee you, no one paid attention to that season when making him offers, especially seeing as he had just come off the best season of his career (and a better season than Zimm had ever had).
Also, Lester had another excellent season in 2015. His 2014-2015 was better than any two year stretch of Zimm’s career.
Just Another Fan
lol ok, so Lester’s allowed a mulligan season, STILL can’t make a pickoff move, but he definitely is better than a guy who has bested him in every major rate stat over a long sample scale. Riiiiight.
Look, your options here are: Lester is overpaid and overrated or Zimmermann is underpaid and underrated. Pick one.
Great move for tigers, I wish Cubs could get him as backup plan to price . Now Cubs will need to pony up to 30 mil for price. I disagree when comparing Zimmerman to Lester. Lester is a valuable lefty who helped us get to nlcs. Great clubhouse presence . He has 2 World Series rings and has great postseason stats. Tigers should love Zimmerman as we cub fans love Lester
Last 4 years of both:
Zimmermann: 3.13 ERA, 124 ERA , 3.33 FIP, 16.7 WAR
Lester: 3.58 ERA, 113 ERA , 3.35 FIP, 11.2 WAR.
Zimmermann > Lester
Just Another Fan
Eh, you included Lester’s 2015, -after- he signed his deal, I think its better to comp them pre-deal, no?
Its looks even worse if we use 2011 instead of 2015, but the argument shifted from contracts to strictly “whos better”
Just Another Fan
That makes sense, I posted those stats ^ there, but either way, Zimmermann is definitely better than Lester, unless you judge by their 2015 seasons only.
Maybe the point all of you should be making is: Which deal (money wise) is better if the 5/110 figures are true about Z.Consider its 2016 and Happ got $12MM while Price should get $30MM.
Lester 155 for 6 years so Lester 129 for 5 . 19 mil less
Just what they need is more big contracts to players over 30
Hes signed for his age 34 season. Thats not exactly the worse thing ever. Thats a whole lot different than the Vmart or Miggy deals
I love the smell of Mike Illitch burning money in the morning.
Just Another Fan
Wow, 5/110 is a massive underpay. I expected him to go 7/150.
Well no one else did. This is a very reasonable contract. He might have been able to get a 6th year if he wait, but 5 years $22M per is perfectly reasonable.
Just Another Fan
Yeah but this is hot stove season, where “perfectly reasonable” gets thrown out the window more often than not.
He’s also worth more than that, but I guess if he’s happy selling himself short, then that’s his prerogative.
Voice of Reason
Just 5 years? Nice sign for the Tigers!
Good deal for the Tigers
$22M/year for 5 years…. not too bad. Bummer he isn’t wearing Cubbie Blue but oh well. Just means the Cubs are that more likely to get Greinke or Price then.
I really had the cubs signing him, I didn’t expect the tigers to jump in on him, Now we have to wait and see who the cubs sign, do they go all in for price or greinke. Or buy low and trade for an ace and sign lackey
If they sign Lackey every Cub fan should be pissed. I can’t believe he has gotten so much attention in the media and among the fans. He’s 37 years old. He had 1 good year last year for the first time in forever. He’s DEFINITELY not worth the multi year deal he wants and will likely get (around 2-3), and he VERY likely won’t be worth the average annual pay he’ll get in that contract. IMO, Lackey is the white, older version of Edwin Jackson. From 2008-2014 lackey missed 1 full season due to injuries, despite that he threw 1,102 IP with a 4.25 ERA, and a 1.33 WHIP over that span. Then he had an uncharacteristically good year in 2015. Odds are that he reverts back to being #4-5 starter material based not only on his history but also because of his age. Bottom line, Lackey has been an average starter for most of his career. “Average” is not worth the $16-17M he is predicted by MLBTR to get annually in a contract. I’m always amazed at the unbearably short memories fans have. When the Cubs signed Edwin Jackson he was 29 years old for the 2013 season. To that point he had compiled 1,268+IP with 7 different teams. He owned a 4.40 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP. At the time of the signing pretty much everyone thought they overpaid him at $13M per season for 4 years. Fast forward to the present and there is an 8 year older free agent pitcher in Lackey available who will likely get $16+M annually in his next contract. In his last 1,320 IP though he has a 4.00 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP……. and he’s 37. How is that mediocrity worth MORE than what Edwin Jackson got almost a decade younger and who was thought (and turned out) to be overpaid. Again, people have short memories.
If the Cubs chicken out and don’t spend on Greinke or Price then I’d rather see them ink 1 year deals with Fister and Latos. Both had surprisingly bad years in 2015 out of nowhere. They are both way closer to 30 years old than Lackey and Latos is like only 28. Both pre-2015 were solid #2-3 SPs in their career. I’d rather see them gamble on 2 solid bounce back candidates in those two than give Lackey any money whatsoever. I would give the Cubs the meager sum of my savings account if it prevented them from signing Lackey.
I hope what happens is they sign Price to a 6 year deal worth $200M. Then ink Latos to a 1 year/ $12M deal. Then trade for maybe a solid up and coming SP, be it a current ML pitcher or one on the verge of making their debut in 2016.
If they chicken out on Greinke and Price I’d like to see them sign Samardzija for 4 years at $17M/yr. Get Latos on that 1 yr $12M MLBTR predicted contract, Fister for the predicted 1 yr $10 contract, and come out of nowhere and sign Heyward to a 10 year $200M contract at $20M annually with an opt out clause after his age 30 season, the halfway point of the contract. That’s a total increase in 2016 payroll of $59 million. The players they currently have total about $100M so the 2016 payroll would be right around $160M……. or about $40M more than the roughly $120M they spent on the 2015 team….. so about the jump in payroll people are expecting…. maybe a little more but it adds 3 potentially solid SPs and a starting CFer for at least the next 5 years. Trade Almora, Hammel, and Castro for prospects and the subtraction of Castro and Hammel would shave about $15-16M off that $160M payroll to $145M just about. It’s possible. Probable? I doubt it, but if they wimp out on the big 2 free agents I’d actually rather see them go this route.
You’d rather have Samardzija at 4/68M than Lackey at 2/30?
Why do you think Lackey will only get 2 years and at $15M per? MLBTR and other sources thinks he’ll get about the same annually as Samardzija….. maybe $1M less. So Samardzija at 4 years and $68M or Lackey at 2 years and $34M……. I’d still take Samardzija. They have similar career numbers, Samardzija is 6 years younger, and Samardzija has about 1,500 fewer innings pitched on his arm than Lackey. Lackey also has thrown 200+ IP only twice in the last 8 years and missed a whole season in 2012 with injuries, whereas Samardzija has 3 consecutive years pitching 200+ IP. Samardzija has more upside than Lackey. Both are equal gambles in my opinion due to the year comment. I’ll take age, mileage, and durability though at the very least in Samardzija over old a** Lackey any day.
Yes, I thought the Cubs would be in on him, they could always trade for a starter.
Lackey would be a perfect pick up for them, but with zimmermann off the board does that make the cubs spend big for an ace.
If they get Lackey I’ll be upset. I don’t get why people think he’s anything more than a barely average pitcher. He blows. He had a good 2015….. at age 36. His first good year since 2007, almost a decade ago. He’s most definitely not worth the $16-17M he’ll likely get as a free agent. Since 2008 and before this last year he was a 4.00 ERA pitcher with a 1.30+ WHIP…… that’s backend of the rotation caliber stuff. Did I mention he’s 37? IMO he’s worth maybe $12-13M but even then I’d rather see the Cubs spend their money more wisely than that.
I think this is a great signing for the Tigers, it puts them in the mix next year
why are the Tigers going all out? I’m not convinced they have enough to catch the Royals or the Twins, even with all the players leaving KC through free agency
Sure the lineup looks very good but I’m not convinced the pitching is good enough to be a contender even with this deal
Signing one guy for five years doesn’t constitute “going all out.” This is just how the economics of baseball work right now.
Not just this deal but them getting Maybin and K-Rod indicates they are trying to win.
Sorry I just see this as a 85 win club at best. Which may not be enough for a wild card. Verlander and Sanchez are too unreliable
One never knows. If a few things go right they could easily win that division. Royals have taken a huge hit in FA, Indians still can’t score runs, and the Twins could easily be a fluke.
the indians on paper have the best rotation in that division but they have to score runs
Score runs AND catch the ball.
It puts them in the race at least.
Figuring down years last year from Verlander(pre All star break), Sanchez, Cabrera, Vmart… and dreadful(but expected)season from Simon and the bullpen.
I think they still have a potentially potent lineup and now a decent rotation.
They have a very solid position core, and if it weren’t for injuries, they would have been been .500 at least last year
While its not “going all out,” the Tigers are only one year removed from having a quality pitching staff and making the playoffs. They lacked their usual firepower in the middle of the lineup last year due to injuries to Miggy and Victor. JV and Anibal were injured in the rotation. Like every year, the team that stays healthy will have a good season. If healthy, they should contend.
????? KC won it with a patchwork starting staff, but they made up for it with the ability to manufacture runs and get an early lead for their pen. They did win a lot of games late, but team speed and the pen was the difference. A team can win with mediocre starters and a great pen, but not vice versa.
Wow!! Two years less than what I thought it would take! I love this deal.
I wouldn’t feel comfortable giving a pitcher 99million+ they breakdown period, if u have to splurge do it on offense n build nice pitching farm
Waaaaaaaaay easier said than done. Pitching prospects are VERY unpredictable. Very dicey picking pitchers in the draft. just ask the Astros and look at how awesome Appel has been so far in their system…… FYI, he sucks. Looking like a major bust for being a #1 overall pick back in 2013. He had 25 starts evenly split between double and triple A this year….. he had pretty much a 5.00 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP….. both par for what he’s done in his minor league career (5.12 ERA…. 1.44 WHIP). Everyone would LOVE to be the Rays who seemingly strike gold every year with pitching, someone new is always stellar. Or the Mets (despite all their young arms having Tommy John surgery pretty much). Fact is building up a farm system solely around pitching is insanely risky. The Braves are playing with fire IMO. They pretty much have zero offense and have been trading the little they had for more minor league pitching. If most if not all (which is a better possibility than if they were positional prospects) of their recently acquired pitchers bust they are going to be in baseball hell for a very… very…. very long time.
So the MLBTR projection was dead on.
Just about even. One year less, slightly higher value which dependent upon how Zimmerman invests his $ could come out even when his deal is complete.
That extra year is pretty big though. Productivity could plummet that last year. Would not be surprised if there is a team option at the end.
The narrative that the Tigers are old and past their prime is just not accurate.
1. They had 3 of the top 15 WAR position players in the AL last year (Kinsler, JD and Miggy).
2. All nine position players are new since opening day 2013. Mostly younger.
3. They were the 7th YOUNGEST team in the MLB last year.
Just Another Fan
And the still have the worst bullpen in the game.
Atleast they have a good closer and still have a ton of time to pursuit 1 of the big 4 relievers on the FA market.
Just Another Fan
True. Adding O’Day and a nails reliever in a trade makes them a beast of a team.
Lucky for them the season does not start tomorrow.
I don’t know about that. We have K-rod now, he’s been solid for years. Wilson and Hardy were both good last year. Add in AlAl who has been decent…. there’s 4 right there. Figuring they’re gonna add in at least one more FA/Trade arm… I’m guessing Rondon gets a spot…. we’ll see. It might go from dumpster fire to mediocre this year
the quality of a bullpen is measured by the relievers who pitch with a lead. Wilson and Hardy both pitched when behind. Ausmus didn’t trust them with a lead. Al Al should be mop up. He has stuff, but it doesn’t translate to results. At the moment, only K-Rod is at the back end of the bullpen, and that is not enough. Sipp or Bastardo would be quite helpful. A trade for McGee would be even better.
You never know what you have in the pen until May, and that includes KC
Or 18th youngest….. I guess it depends on which site you look on, haha.
If Verlander can show what he did in the 2nd half of 2015 season going into the full 2016 season. Then he is no question the ace of the staff. Zimmermann slides in as a solid number 2. I feel his stuff and menalitity plays into any park. Daniel Norris is a very solid prospect who I think will blossom into a #3 starter or better in 2016, Anibal Sanchez is solid when he is on the field. If The Tigers can get anything out of Michael Fulmer this upcoming season which he may be on the Tigers roster a little before or after the All-Star Break. He is an impressive prospect.
So there is 5 good enough starters if the dominoes fall correctly. There is also a lot of Offseason left. The Tigers may target another #2 or #3 type to help bolster the rotation. They have a lot of payroll still even with The Zimmermann signing, but I think this is a great deal for them. As a Braves fan, I hate The Nationals. There isn’t a team that I hate more in baseball, but I always enjoyed watching Zimmermann because he is unspectacularly solid.
Just Another Fan
Hows that bullpen lookin though? Remember, the Tigers basically need to find 5 new, good relievers this offseason.
True the bullpen does look in disarray, but it is easier to get the Starters out of the way earlier in the season then work your way down to the pen in a year in which everyone’s top closers / relievers are up for trade.
I don’t think they need 5. Blaine Hardy and Alex Wilson were both solid last year. K-rod is new and should be fine. AlAl was a bit inconsistent, but probably average.
I don’t think they’re gonna give up on Bruce Rondon quite yet, I assume he gets a shot(rumor has it he’s dropped some weight and working hard this offseason).
If those 5 are all in, they only need 2 more relievers.
I think Cueto signs for the same type of deal. 5yr/100-120 million.
Maybe, but he should definitely get more than Zimmerman
I would take Zimmermann over Cueto
Then I think you have a big case of recency bias and even still Cueto was better than Zimmerman this past year.
Cueto is a constant injury concern though, that is why i think most people prefer Zimmermann over Cueto. Cueto is the better pitcher though when healthy….. which is why he’ll get the same $$$ as Zimmermann despite the health concerns.
Actually, before I hit “post comment” I looked up their career numbers. They’re pretty much identical. Each have about a 3.30 ERA, 1.16-1.18 WHIP, each have a 7.4 K/9IP rate, both have about .580 winning percentages. Zimmerman actually walks 1 batter less than Cueto though. That’s pretty much the only distinguishing factor between them.
This makes my heart smile
One of the biggest factors s going to be how Zimmerman translates to AL lineups with no soft spots. He seems to be a horse, but you don’t pay an innings eater this kind of money. Good gamble but the Tigers may be nothing more than sellers at the trade deadline, or they might be leading the division. That’s why they play 162.
How many pitchers have started 30 or more times each of the last 4 years and have had WARs of 4.7, 3.7, 4.9, 3.5 last 4 years?
He is much more than an innings eater.
And to put this in perspective, he got PORCELLO money. That is what the market is now.
He got 28M+ what Porcello got.
Look up their AAVs now. Porcello got less in year one because it was his last arbitration year, but their AAVs now are similar.
Porcello is getting 20.5/year the next 4 years.
Zimmerman is getting 22/year the next 5 years.
Yes, but Porcello was an overpay before the ink dried. DET is paying with the same hopes that Zimm bounces back, though he has a track record of being very very good, so they have a shot at a decent return.
Just Another Fan
That “innings eater” had a 2.68 FIP in 2014. That’s what an certified ace does.
You don’t know much about ZNN if you think he’s just an innings eater. He’s got a no-hitter. He doesn’t wilt under pressure. The Tigers got a first class pitcher and I’m not talking about some stat driven ratings. He’s a heady player, fields his position well. He’s got the stuff that stats don’t measure.
Good sign by the Tigers, but he’ll be at home next fall watching those Giants win it all!
Just Another Fan
I’d love for everyone to stop thinking in terms of these totally made-up, fake, “rotational position in terms of value” numbers. There are no set rules or stats for those and its an outdated, grandfathered-in concept that teams don’t even use today, where managers will bring up a guy from a minors so another guy in the rotation can “skip” his place to face a certain team. Saying “He’s a #1!” or “He’s a #3” are just asinine concepts that vary from person to person. It also doesn’t address when a team has more than one legit ace – is Darvish or Hamels a “#2” to anyone out there? No. So, stop it.
Look, we have all these stats available and yet people are still out there arguing a concept that doesn’t exist like it did in the 1970’s like it means something. Other than the very best being called “ace”, we really need to stop assigning rotational numbers to pitchers based off whatever it is the person thinks it is. Or, go the other way and give a strict statistical references to place the SP in terms of how good they are.
Thanks for your time.
We’re arguing a pitcher in terms of their stats to their theoretical spot in a rotation.
For example, you can throw Price on any team in baseball, hes still a ‘number one’ starter. Doesn’t matter if hes on a team with 4 pitchers better than him. That team now has 5 ‘number ones.’
Zimmermann is a 2nd tier starting pitcher, as in hes not in with the Kershaws, Grienkes or Prices of the world. Hes a #2 pitcher who can be team’s #1.
Hes in the Hamels, Lester, and Stephen Strasburg bracket.
Two years ago he was a 1 for the Nats.
That’s because then the only other quality arms on the Nats were #3/#2 at best Gio Gonzalez and a young, constantly banged up Stephen Strasburg.
Just Another Fan
And you proved my point with the “Hamels, Lester, and Stephen Strasburg bracket” line – who are you to say Hamels isn’t as good as Price? Plenty will argue that. My point is that every baseball fan has different views to this, which one can easily just wash as as “#2” – I’d rather we throw this entire concept in the trash and just use war or fip to figure this out – that’s why those stats exist, for this EXACT purpose, who why not use them???
All of you are missing the point of “ranking” pitchers. For the purpose of placing a value or price on a pitcher,or any player,they are ranked. Since a team will usually only have one position player as a “starter,he is the starter and another player would be a reserve. If they are equal, they would be “platooned”. Well “starting pitchers” are called that for a reason. All of them start and they all can’t start every game or the first game. Each team will “rank” their starters as to what order they will pitch and that usually goes in a pattern of best to worst. As the years go on or within a year, a pitcher’s success will dictate where in the pecking order he will land. This order is fluid and can change. This success is evaluated using,in my opinion, too many stats by fans that fog up the reason for them in the first place. As fans, we juggle these stats to justify our personal opinions.
Now for the purpose of FA, this ranking places value on a pitcher regarding how much a team will pay for a pitcher.It is a range as other factors come into play (competition, how a player fits into a team’s plan (see Happ), and how badly a team wants a certain player, etc.That’s where the “overpay and underpay” games begin. The actual value can only be calculated after the contract is finished to see if it favored the team or player.
Just Another Fan
Look, there’s one question you can ask “Do you want this pitcher going in a must-win game?” – the answer to that, and a team can have multiple options, is an “ace”. Everyone else is just less than an ace, and its asinine to rank them by otherwise entirely made-up out of thin air parameters. We have stats for this, use them.
I agree, but you’re being way too logical for those who prefer rhetoric, much like the concocted “left-right” political continuum. It’s much easier to react than think.
Just Another Fan
Thanks, I know your post is “how it is” but I just wish it wasn’t. People are STILL using pitcher W-L like it means something, but a pitcher can give up 7 runs and get a W and another guy can throw a complete game where he gives up 1 run and gets a L. We have so many more stats that better show the quality of a players game, but people like what they were taught about the game when they got into it as a child and refuse to accept that what they were taught changed, and is now very wrong.
Huge mistake for him to sign with a AL team.
Why? He got paid.
Could have been paid the same by an NL team but also probably put up better career numbers.
You know this…how? Also, who says he cares all that much about his career numbers. He got a pretty decent contract and got it early.
Personally I’d never want to go to detroit, but I’m not sure how you can call this a mistake for him when you don’t know all of the details of negotiations and also don’t know what is actually important to Zimm.
What’s wrong with Detroit?.
I am from Boston. I love almost everything about Detroit and it’s baseball team. It’s an authentic real place where people actually work hard and are modest.
And the team support is off the charts. 3M tickets sold per year. Top 5 ratings share by market in baseball.
Typical Sox fan, about as knowledgable about the game as there is, down to the smallest detail.
I used to despise Boston until I grew up.
Your ignorance is showing.
Explain, and please share with us how often or if ever you have been to Detroit
METRO Detroit has 4.5MM people, with about 85% of them living in the suburbs. I don’t think you’d mind living in Bloomfield Hills.
There are some pretty good hitters in the NL.
NL teams are not just copy cats of the 1985 Cardinals anymore.
Can’t touch the AL with the DH.
It’s not as if he’ll be hammered nightly and his era will balloon to 4.50. There’s a big park difference between the NL west and the NL East.
Baseball Reference gives Wash a Park Factor of 103 favoring batters and Detroit a 95 favoring pitchers in 2015. The multi year gives Detroit a 98, so pitchers get a 5 point edge when changing fields on a multi year basis. Simply put, playing in Detroit favors the pitchers and should help Zimmermann with any divergence in switching leagues.
Agreed, add to that, the fact that his team will score more runs because of the DH, which will virtually cancel out any higher ERA.
Nice contract if 5/$110MM is acccurate. Sad the Cubs didn’t jump in.
I like the signing for both sides. Detroit gets its shopping done early, within a projected budget, and Zimmerman is solid, if not an ace at this stage. Zimmerman knows he has competition, and by not looking for the last dollar, he possibly spares himself the Shields endgame.
He’s a #2, but DET needs pitching and this keeps them on budget. hus numbers last yr were more in line w. #4, but he could bounce back.
The reason he is considered a “#2” is because he has pitched behind strasburg and Scherzer and Gonzalez even. This is a good contract for both parties.
Good deal but if it happened tomorrow ESPN and MLB network right know would be breaking in to talk abut it. Could use a Closer like Chapman,
Great move for Detroit. They get ages 30-35 for a reliable inning eating #2 guy without dishing out excessive money. 21 million per is very reasonable for the talent they are getting.
Al Avila is stepping out smartly. Good for him and the Tigers.
When will ownership learn that giving pitchers these multi-year 9 figure contracts is a high risk low reward proposition? I don’t begrudge any player for getting the money they recieve from their teams. However, to give a player that kind of money to play in maybe 33 games for the entire regular season is shear lunacy. If I am an owner, I give that kind of money to an everday player vs. a pitcher. I want to have my organization develop young controllable pitchers and then roll them over in their final arbitration years for an influx of everyday talent and or a replenishing of my farm system. What is so ironic is when a pitcher with a huge contract under performs or spends a great deal of time on the DL, the fans boo and claim their team should have never given that pitcher that kind of money. But when the off season rolls around and the Hot Stove League begins to heat up, the same fical fans want tbeir team to sign the next high priced free agent and repeat the cycle all over again. The bandwagon jumping Cub fans are a prime example. After taking a few years to dig out of the free agent calamity they have experienced, they want ownership to jump back in to that same black hole that was responsible for the down years to begin with. The supposed die hards are burning up the sports talk show phone lines urging Cubs ownership to dump big bucks on pitchers; and compensate them for past and not future performance. If it was so easy to build a championship team by throwing hundreds of millions at pitchers who are walking arm injuries waiting to happen, the team that spends the most in free agency every year would be the World Series winner. The San Diego Padres did that last year; and, where did they finish up?
Tigers are still gonna finish fourth in their division at best.
Yep. The Tigers have only 3 of the top 15 AL WAR position players. They need at least 5 more to even finish in 3rd, right? /sacrcasm
And how’d that work out for them last year?
If you were my bookie, I’d be rich.
Fair enough contract. But he probably could have gotten more if he had waited.
Supply is much greater this year than last year.
It’s funny. Scherzer gets picked up by nats just a year ago then the Tigers go right ahead the following offseason and pick up the nats top pitching free agent and sign him to a long term deal. Priority list strikes again!
Ironic. Sort of… But Zimmerman is HALF the contract value as Scherzer. HALF!
And, interestingly enough, Zimmermann’s WAR in 2015 was half of Scherzer’s: 3.5 versus 7.1
I doubt it will be half over the next 5 years.
I am thinking Zimmermann will be 80% of Scherzer at 1/2 the price tag.
I was going to say the same thing. 1 of the big 3 are now gone. Really Zimmerman probably fell into a Sam, Cue, category – He is no Price or Grez –
Lots Left But I figure Price will go to the Red Sox, and Grez to the Giants if LA don’t resign him. As predicted I still think the Cubs will get Lacky and Sam and then go after a good Center Fielder Like Gordon – Just my 2 cents but I predicted this just as the free agent list came out – Time will tell.
Gordon plays LF?
AT smelliott00 it was a 5 year 110 Million dollar deal – NO OPTIONS meaning about 22 Mil a year –
At arc89 – 100% correct on setting tone for pictures. But 22 Mil was not over pay, I’d take a Zim and Sam together at over 1 Price – I be willing to bet Greinke gets 6 years at 200 thats 33M a year or 5 at 165 same thing. LA and the Giants may not want to go 6 years on a 32 year old pitcher but it be close to that.
Price who knows but a safe bet is 7 years at 240 Mil that 34 M a year / Maybe 6 years at 220 that is 36 1/2 M per year or maybe even 8 years at 265M back loaded but I bet that is pretty damn close with one of those, and RS will probably pay it. I think the Cubs will go in at 220 at 7 depending on how bad he wants money will determine if its the Red Sox or Cubs…You heard it here first.
Then who knows after that. – I predict Heyward gets 185 for 6 years – with 2 year option
Just my 2 cents going to screen shoot this for reference haha..
If price gets either of those deals I will eat my hat and heyward is not getting 31 million dollars a year for 6 years.
When it is an official signing. I’m waiting for the mlbtraderumors article on how it will affect other teams around the league. Especially the Cubs.
that seems about right- i don’t like the move to the AL but he’s proven to be a durable pitcher and just 5 years getting him through his age 34 season- no options or buyouts on the end.
Tigers still have a lot of work to do in their rotation. With Verlander’s and Sanchez’s durability in question and number 4 and 5 coming from a pool that includes Norris, Lobstein (hilarious name for a pitcher), Greene and Boyd it would seem unlikely that they can be the top tier AL Central team they once were in 2016. In any event, Zimmerman seems like a good value. Can’t wait to see how he does in a Tiger uniform.
How is Verlander’s durability in question? He went on the DL for the first time in his career last year. It took longer than expected because he tried to come back too quickly and aggravated the strain. Sanchez is a concern since he’s been on the DL multiple times. #4 will be Norris and Avila has stated #5 will be another FA, presumably a Rich Hill, Bartolo Colon, type reclamation or high risk/reward project. Boyd, Lobstein, Greene, Farmer, etc. would be either in the pen or available if #5 goes up in flames.
This just in, the Cubs were actually talking to Zimmermann’s “street agents” and agreed to give him 5M more.
ok so we got Zimmerman who could be a #1/2 on many teams (but maybe not elite) at 22M/year
Then we got Happ who last year was lucky to be in baseball until he got to the Pirates at 12M/year
That leaves ~10M of wiggle room for the in between mid rotation types
As a Nationals fan it would be awesome if the two Compensatory picks the Nationals get for Zimm turn out to be as good or better than he was as the compensatory pick when we lost Soriano years ago which I think most Nationals fans in the end are quite content with.
Factor in $10MM for a TJ Surgery insurance policy and it is still a great deal!
Well done Avila!
Now he should take a 2 month vacation. I don’t want him to make any deals for the next two months.
Wait until Feb 1st and get the best leftover for Starting Pitcher and Setup Guy. No reason to overpay now.
Wait. Wait. Wait.
While I like Wilson and Hardy, I’d like to see him take a run at Tony Sipp. MLBTR is projecting him at 3 yrs 12M which is very reasonable for a set up guy and unlike many lefty relievers he’s good against LHB as well as RHB. Another reliable veteran would be very helpful if if the younger guys regress. After that I totally agree. No need to sign the 5th starter until Feb.
Zach, take a look at the MLIVE article. The contract is backloaded. Only $18MM in years 1 and 2. Not an issue for Luxury Tax (Tigers are well under that amount), but will offer payroll load balancing as Kinsler, VMART, Anibal and JV all roll off over the next few years, when the Zimmermann expense will go higher.
It looks like they have set themselves up for an additional budget of ~$25MM to address another starting pitcher and reliever. Well done!
Just Another Fan
Wow, so they’re paying less while he has the 3-year NTC? They really couldn’t have made a better signing.
I did not think of that. Good point!
Just Another Fan
Ok so he took less money to be closer to home, that makes sense, I guess. I still think he left over $30M on the table, which would trump area for most. But $110M is still a damn lot of cash to play baseball for.
Detroit got a nice pitcher.I thought he was go to end up with the giants or dodgers.
It’s a good purchase. Makes money sense. It lets us pick up another starter with the other 100k that Price would of gotten from the Tigers.
I meant 100 M.