Jordan Zimmermann is likely one of the top 20 best pitchers in all of Major League Baseball. However, it’s hard to think of any other pitcher who gets so little national media in proportion to his immense success on the baseball diamond. From his return from Tommy John Surgery in 2011 to 2013, he was one of the most successful pitchers in baseball, as he posted a cumulative ERA of 3.13 over 560 innings in that time span. However, because he didn’t strike out copious numbers of batters and because he pitched in the same rotation as nationally well known pitchers Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez, he never earned the attention from the national media as he deserved. Even following 2014, his best MLB season to date, he is still underrated.
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Jordan Zimmermann entered 2014 fresh off of signing a new 2 year, $24 million deal that would take him through his final years of arbitration. Despite a rough May in which he posted 5.06 ERA, Zimmermann earned the second All Star selection of his career (2013, 2014) as he entered the break with a 6-5 record and a 3.03 ERA. Maintaining that ERA over the rest of the season would have been a phenomenal pitching performance, but Zimmermann’s second half made his pre-All Star performance look rather mediocre. The country strong right-hander went undefeated over the season’s final two months, collecting eight more wins while lowering his ERA down to 2.66, a career low. Big Zim also capped his regular season with the best performance of his career on September 28th. The righty threw a no-hitter against the Miami Marlins, punching out 10 in a game that ended with Steven Souza‘s history sealing catch.
Zimmermann would go on to face the San Francisco Giants in the NLDS Game 2. Despite some early jams, Zim would go on to retire 18 straight Giants before Matt Williams removed him with two outs in the top of the ninth in one of the most controversial managing decisions in the Nats brief postseason history. The Giants would go on to tie the game in the ninth, before winning it in the 18th inning. The loss would put the Nationals in a 0-2 series deficit they ultimately could not recover from.
Looking forward, 2015 will be Jordan Zimmermann’s final year under team control with the Nationals. He will make $12.5 million before hitting the free agent market, where he will surely land a lengthy, nine figure contract. The question remains whether the Nationals will be the team that signs him to that contract. With both Zimmermann, shortstop Ian Desmond, and rotation mate Doug Fister expected to sign huge deals, will the Nationals be able to keep all of them, two of them, one of them, or none of them? Zimmermann’s impending free agency puts the pressure on the Nationals to win it all in 2015 while their core is still intact.