In late November of 2015, the Detroit Tigers signed right-handed starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann to a five-year, $110 million deal. Saturday, the Tigers announced that they had placed Zimmermann on the 45-day injured list with a forearm injury that could mean he does not pitch in the final season of that deal.
The contract has not aged well, but it didn't seem to be such a bad deal at the time. In the previous five seasons, Zimmermann was 66-43 with a 3.18 ERA (123 ERA+). He did show some decline from 2014 to 2015, but not enough to believe this deal would be such a catastrophe.
His first month was amazing, too. Zimmerman in April of 2016 went 5-0 in five starts with a 0.55 ERA.
And then the proverbial wheels came off. The rest of the 2016 season, Zimmermann had a 6.84 ERA. He followed it up with a 6.08 ERA in 2017, a season in which he led the majors in earned runs allowed. 2018 proved to be Zimmermann's best season with the Tigers. On a nine-figure deal, the best season being 7-8 with a 4.52 ERA (99 ERA+), 1.26 WHIP and 111 strikeouts in 131 1/3 innings isn't exactly ideal. He was good for 0.7 WAR.
Last year, Zimmermann was 1-13 with a 6.91 ERA in 23 starts.
And now, he has a forearm injury, which a lot of the time ends up leading to Tommy John surgery. At age 34, it's not a guarantee that Zimmerman pitches in the majors again. However, Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said Zimmerman could try to pitch toward the end of the abbreviated 2020 season.
"I think he wants to show people he can still pitch, but he's got a road ahead of him trying to get this thing well," Gardenhire told MLive.com.
His line to date on that $110 million contract?
25-41, 5.61 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 4.86 FIP, 80 ERA+, 1.2 WAR, 0 playoff appearances.
We'll go out on a limb and guess his jersey doesn't need to be fully stocked in the Detroit metro area sports apparel stores.