The Tigers announced today that righty Jordan Zimmermann and outfielder Christin Stewart underwent surgeries to repair core muscle injuries. Both players are expected to be at full health for the start of camp.
In the case of Zimmermann, the news comes on the heels of another disappointing campaign in Detroit. The 32-year-old now carries a 5.24 ERA in his 396 2/3 innings since signing on with the club in advance of the 2016 campaign.
To be fair, Zimmermann did make some strides after a brutal 2017 showing. His swinging-strike rate jumped to 9.1%, the second-highest level in his career, though he continued to shed velocity. Zimmermann also posted a career-low 35.0% groundball rate and career-high 15.7% HR/FB rate, and ended the year with a 4.52 ERA, so there’s obviously still work to do.
Ultimately, the surgery represents another ding to a pitcher who simply hasn’t performed as hoped. With $50MM still owed over the two seasons to come, he wasn’t likely to be dealt regardless. But his situation is worth watching more closely now that his full no-trade protection has reverted to a partial no-trade clause. (He can block trades to all but ten teams.)
As for Stewart, a 2015 first-rounder who cracked the majors for the first time in 2018, the procedure won’t change the outlook in an appreciable manner. He impressed in a brief run at the big leagues, posting a .267/.375/.417 slash with two home runs and a strong 13:10 K/BB ratio over 72 plate appearances. Having posted big offensive numbers at each minor-league stop along the way, Stewart has likely earned a presumption of a big-league job in 2019.