St. Louis Cardinals Lose Out on Jordan Zimmermann


As St. Louis Cardinals ponder the Market, the Detroit Tigers pounce on one of the best free agent pitchers in the market.

UPDATE: ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reporting that the Detroit Tigers deal with Jordan Zimmermann is worth $110 million over 5 years. The St. Louis Cardinals will have to pay big to land David Price, Zack Greinke or Johnny Cueto.

News dropped this morning that the Detroit Tigers — not the St. Louis Cardinals — are signing free agents right-hander Jordan Zimmerman. From CBS Sports’ John Heyman:

"The deal is pending a first reported the Tigers were in serious talks with Zimmermann late Saturday night.Zimmermann becomes the first front-line pitcher to do a deal in a market stocked with excellent starters. He had been expected to get something in the neighborhood of $100 million, though terms are not yet known."

Zimmermann looks like a pretty good get for the Motor City Kitties. The St. Louis Cardinals will now be unable to acquire a starter who has been among the best and most consistent starting pitchers in the National League over the last three seasons.

During that span he has pitched at least 199.2 innings, winning a National League high 19 games in 2013. And while

Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

the Washington Nationals, which drafted Zimmermann in the second round in 2007, were a huge disappointment in 2015, the right-hander wasn’t the problem. He went out and made 33 starts, finishing with a 13-10 record and 3.66 ERA.

The former Washington National has made at least 32 starts and thrown at least 195 innings in each of the last four seasons, becoming an example of durability since shedding workload limits in 2012 following Tommy John surgery in ’10.

Zimmermann was one of the steadier performers on a Nationals squad that carried World Series expectations since Spring Training, before losing out to the Mets in the National League East. Zimmermann went 13-10 with a 3.66 ERA in 33 starts this past season, topping 200 innings for the second time in three years.

Zimmermann is no sure thing, mind you. He had Tommy John surgery back in 2010. Last year he allowed the most hits per nine innings (9.1) and the most home runs in a season (24) in his 7-year career. But he has also upped his strikeout rate in 2015 and is no longer the ground-ball-focused pitcher he once was. In other words, his game is suited nicely to Comerica Park, one of the stingiest parks in the big leagues.

Next: 4 Under the Radar Trade, FA Targets

That leaves the St. Louis Cardinals with a top-shelf pitching market of Zach Grienke, who should be written off as a Los Angeles Dodger already, David Price, Johnny Cueto and … that’s it. Deep breaths everyone. It just might be a wild ride heading into the Baseball Winter Meetings, which begin December 6.