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Washington Nationals roster review: Jordan Zimmermann


Washington Nationals roster review: Jordan Zimmermann

Age on Opening Day 2016: 29

How acquired: 2nd round, 2007 draft

MLB service time: 5 years, 154 days

2015 salary+bonuses: $16.5 million

Contract status: Free agent

2015 stats: 33 GS, 201.2 IP, 204 H, 89 R, 82 ER, 24 HR, 39 BB, 164 K, 1.20 WHIP, 13-10, 3.66 ERA, 3.75 FIP, 3.0 WAR

Quotable: "I feel like I took the ball every time they asked and did what I could. Some days I didn’t have it. Some days I was good. I’m not saying this is my last start. You don’t know what’s going to happen this offseason. We’ll see what happens.”

2015 analysis: Like many Nationals players, Jordan Zimmermann's 2015 did not go quite as planned. He had a career year in 2014 and finished the season with two dominant outings, but that did not carry over into this season, the final year of Zimmermann's contract with the Nationals.

Zimmermann's biggest issues involved consistency. He had plenty of good outings in 2015, but too often let games slip away from him. He gave up four earned runs or more in nine of his 33 starts this season, which set a career-high.

One thing in particular that Zimmermann struggled with was home runs. Zimmermann allowed a career-high 24 homers this season, almost twice as many as the 13 he surrendered in 2014. Zimmermann also set a career-high for a full season in FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching), which further indicates it wasn't bad luck for the right-hander, he just had a slightly down year.

2016 outlook: If Zimmermann had a season similar to 2014, he would have set himself up for a massive payday in free agency. He should still have plenty of suitors, but one has to think he lost himself at least a little bit of money by seeing his ERA go up by a full run from the previous year.

Also working against Zimmermann this winter is the depth of starting pitching expected to hit the market. Zimmermann is a very accomplished pitcher, but he will be behind David Price, Zack Greinke and Johnny Cueto. Also available will be Jeff Samardzija, Yovani Gallardo, Mark Buehrle, Brett Anderson, Hisashi Iwakuma, Scott Kazmir, John Lackey and others.

That is an unusually loaded class of starting pitchers. Zimmermann fits somewhere in that mix, perhaps in the top four or five, but it's not like he will be getting the first call from most teams. It will be interesting to see what kind of market finds him given the abundance of options and the numbers he put up in 2015.

Zimmermann is expected to leave the Nationals after spending nine years in the organization. He become a true homegrown star, but the team could not reach agreement on a contract extension and their signing of Max Scherzer to a record contract last offseason all but sealed Zimmermann's fate. Now he will likely find a new team to move forward with as he gets ready for his Age 30 season. If he does leave Washington, he will depart as the best pitcher in team history so far with seven strong years under his belt.

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The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful


The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful

It's that wonderful time of year again — when baseball teams flock to warmer climates for spring training and the regular season is practically around the corner — and Bryce Harper is already killing it.

It took the Washington Nationals a few games to brush away their offseason cobwebs and get back into gear, but since the beginning of March, they're riding a five-game win streak as of Sunday the 4th.

They are 6-4-1 in spring training going into Monday's matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Since Thursday, the Nats have taken down — in order — the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, defending World Series champion Houston Astros, the Detroit Tigers and the Mets again. Sunday's 6-2 win against the Tigers was in large part thanks to Harper's bat, as the star of the team drilled his first home run of spring training. 


Turn up the volume for this one because the sound of Harper's contact with the ball is just beautiful — and perhaps enough to get you pumped for the March 29 opener.

Harper blew this ball away in the bottom of the third for a two-run homer with Howie Kendrick on base. He also had a single in the fourth and finished the game with three RBI.

Gio Gonzalez was the winning pitcher for the Nats. 


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Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches


Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches

We are fortunate enough to live in a world where we can watch a former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback (attempt to) hit against a three-time Cy Young pitcher in a Major League Baseball preseason game.

Max Scherzer took less than a minute to strike out Tim Tebow, who was batting cleanup for the Mets in a spring training game Friday. You can watch the whole at-bat here:

It looks like Tebow and Scherzer are starting to develop a pattern - last year’s matchup between the two went down the exact same way.

Tebow was able to redeem himself later in the game with his first hit of the year against Nats prospect Erick Fedde. He will likely begin the season with the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies, but Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he believes Tebow will eventually see some at-bats in the Majors.