Say hey, baseball: Will the Nationals trade Jordan Zimmermann?
Tuesday morning’s baseball includes the recent Jordan Zimmermann rumors, Theo Epstein’s deer urine, and the conclusion of the Headley saga.
Listen, we know it’s tough to catch up on everything happening in the baseball world each morning. There are all kinds of stories, rumors, game coverage and Vines of dudes getting hit in the beans every day, and trying to find all of it while on your way to work or sitting at your desk isn’t easy. It’s OK, though, we’re going to do the heavy lifting for you each morning, and find the things you need to see from within the SB Nation baseball network as well as from elsewhere. Please hold your applause until the end.
The big post-winter meetings rumor reveal involved the Mariners and the Nationals, and it told us much of where the Nationals believe they stand. The report was that the Nationals offered starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann and shortstop Ian Desmond to the M’s in exchange for Taijuan Walker and Brad Miller, with Seattle covering every penny the two veterans are owed. This would have given the Nationals inferior players for 2015, but assured them of an on-hand replacement in their rotation for Zimmermann, as well as a potential successor for Desmond at shortstop: both of those players are free agents after 2015, and both could leave the Nats. The Mariners weren’t about that, though, as it would have significantly increased their chances in 2015 but shrunk their window to compete in the long run. Their fans agree with that sentiment, as tantalizing as the alternative sounds.
Here’s the deal: the Nationals have attempted to negotiate an extension with Zimmermann multiple times, and they haven’t progressed towards one yet. He’s a year away from free agency, but according to Zimmermann himself the Nats have until Opening Day to sort this thing out, and then it’s time to test free agency. “Fair value” is the current buzzword, which mostly makes you wonder what the Nats have been offering to this point. Zimmermann is making $16.5 million in 2015, which is probably at least $7-8 million shy of what would get him to listen going forward.
Given Jon Lester just picked up $155 million with the Cubs, Zimmermann has little reason to settle for an extension he’s not thrilled with: he’s a year younger, and will be one of the few with an ace pedigree on next winter’s free agent market that is loaded with number twos.
It’s not just the Mariners who have been given a shot at Zimmermann. The Red Sox need a new ace, and they have the young talent the Nationals would like in return for their own: unsurprisingly, the two sides have engaged in trade discussions. Whether this leads to anything is unknown, but the Nationals will probably have to drop their asking price for a rental arm in a market that’s flush with alternatives. Since they have a chance to win in 2015, they probably won’t feel compelled to do so.
If the Sox did just Zimmermann, would they pay for him to stick around? Will they pay for anyone if they weren’t going to go past six years and $135 million for Jon Lester? Or is the high-end of the starting pitching market going to elude them from here on out?
- Theo Epstein would have done anything to secure Lester, who was drafted in Boston while the Cubs’ exec still worked there. That includes going on a hunting trip and soaking himself in deer urine. He mercifully didn’t have to, because Lester believes in the Cubs’ plan.
- Re-signing Max Scherzer still makes some sense for the Tigers, even if he’s demanding $200 million and his own pet tiger in order to sign.
- The Braves released some new stadium renderings, and included images of them losing a baseball game against their rivals from Washington. Feel the excitement, Cobb County!
- The Royals grabbed Alex Rios on a reasonable one-year make-good deal. It’s the kind of risky move with upside they didn’t attempt in 2014, but could pay off now that they have the money to try it.
- The Padres needed to make the Matt Kemp trade for a number of reasons, a few of which the WAR-obsessed crowd can’t seem to grasp.
- The Marlins are expecting Giancarlo Stanton will use his opt-out, so they have to win in the six years they still have him.
- All Grant Brisbee wanted was one rumor to call his own during his time at the winter meetings. Instead, he came away with this wonderful take on why we care about rumors at all.
- The Yankees signed Chase Headley, and to a bargain deal given the other offers he declined. They still have work to do, however, because the Yankees as-is are incredibly risky.
- The Mariners missed out on Melky Cabrera, so what now for the outfield? “Not Ichiro Suzuki” seems to be a good start.
- There are still deals to be made in January, and the Cardinals just might find their starting pitching depth there. Remember that while complaining about the Rios’ deal, Royals fans.