[UPDATE: Yup, very serious. A deal has reportedly been struck.]
Although he was connected to the Chicago Cubs quite a bit last offseason, and then in the very early parts of this offseason, free agent righty Jordan Zimmermann has not been mentioned too frequently with the Cubs lately. At last check, the Cubs did intend to speak to his representatives, but rumors about David Price, Zack Greinke, Jeff Samardzija, and John Lackey have all been more persistent since then.
Meanwhile, Zimmermann has been connected at various times to other pitching-seeking teams like the Giants, Dodgers, and Diamondbacks, and now there’s another team to add to the list: the Tigers.
Jon Morosi and Ken Rosenthal report that the Tigers are in discussions with Zimmermann, and “multiple people [say the] talks have become serious.”
Zimmermann, 29, is coming off of arguably his worst season in years, but it was still a 3.0-WAR effort, and he hits the market as the youngest top free agent starter, and is still expected to command a contract well over $100 million. The Tigers need pitching, have money, and have a protected first round draft pick, so they’d lose only a second rounder to sign Zimmermann. There’s a clear fit here.
Most of the latest reports have the Giants and Dodgers battling it out for Zack Greinke, so Zimmermann not going to either of those teams could ramp up efforts on that front. Greinke has popped up periodically in connection to the Cubs, and there’s obviously so much to like, but it’s always been questionable whether the Cubs would commit $150ish million to a 32-year-old pitcher, especially when other areas of free agency could allow them to spread their chips around in a more impactful way – something they might not be able to do in a less robust free agent year.
Of course, this all assumes that those reportedly “serious” talks between the Tigers and Zimmermann go somewhere. Even if the talks are serious, that doesn’t mean a deal gets done.