The Orioles announced they’ve reinstated left-hander Bruce Zimmermann from the 60-day injured list. He’ll start this evening’s game against the Red Sox. They’ve also recalled corner infielder/outfielder Tyler Nevin from Triple-A Norfolk and placed right-hander Chris Ellis and outfielder Anthony Santander on the 10-day IL. To create space on the 40-man roster for Zimmermann, Baltimore transferred lefty Keegan Akin, who underwent abdominal surgery last week, from the 10-day to the 60-day injured list.
Zimmermann is back after missing around two and a half months due to left biceps tendinitis. The 26-year-old appeared in twelve games (eleven starts) before going on the IL, tossing 59 2/3 innings of 4.83 ERA/4.48 SIERA ball. Zimmermann posted a below-average 20.2% strikeout rate and gave up nearly as much hard contact as any pitcher in baseball, but he pounded the strike zone and posted a ground-ball rate just a bit below the league average.
That’s not the most exciting production, but only John Means posted better numbers among O’s hurlers with 50+ innings this season. That looks to give Zimmermann a decent shot at landing a season-opening rotation spot next year, although the O’s front office will at least add a low-cost veteran option or two to that mix this offseason.
Santander’s season comes to a close a few days early because of a right knee sprain. The 26-year-old mashed in last year’s shortened campaign, but he couldn’t follow up on that over a larger body of work. Through 438 plate appearances, Santander hit .241/.286/.433. He hit for a decent amount of power for a third consecutive year, popping 18 home runs, but Santander’s tiny 5.3% walk rate and career-worst 23.1% strikeout percentage (excluding his 13-game rookie year) contributed to serious on-base issues.
This offseason, Santander will be eligible for arbitration for the second of four times. If tendered a contract, he’d be in line for a raise on this year’s $2.1MM salary. The Orioles have no guaranteed money on the books next season, so they could certainly shoulder a few million dollar tab for Santander. Still, that was true last offseason of Renato Nuñez — another low-OBP, power bat — and Baltimore elected to non-tender Nuñez. The front office will have to make a similar call on Santander this winter.