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.