UPDATE: There have been conflicting reports regarding the Nationals and Cubs being in talks on a deal involving Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann. While Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun Times – citing multiple sources – says that a deal is in fact being discussed, Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune, citing a source, says that no such deal exists.
Stay tuned to District on Deck as we continue to monitor this story and all other offseason news and rumors for the Washington Nationals.
According to a report by Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun Times, the Washington Nationals are currently in talks to ship 28-year-old Jordan Zimmermann off to the Chicago Cubs. Zimmermann is likely on the trading block due to his contract situation.
After turning down a 5-year, $85 million offer from the Nationals last year, Zimmermann is entering the final year of his contract. The article reports that the Cubs will likely want to be assured of extending Zimmermann before completing a deal, which makes sense.
What also makes sense from the Nationals’ perspective is what they could get out of the deal. The Cubs are currently talent-rich, and with the Nats likely moving on from Asdrubal Cabrera, a deal could definitely help strengthen their offensive output from second base.
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District on Deck has discussed trading Tanner Roark, but the trade of Zimmermann might actually make more sense. The Nats would be likely to lose Zimmermann after the 2015 season to free agency, given his contract situation. Roark, on the other hand, will be under control until he’s 33 – a 5-year window.
It’s also worth pointing out that the Nationals have the pitching assets to afford to trade one of their five starters. Sure, having five great guys is a good advantage for the regular season, but that also means that when the postseason rolls around, one of those guys is relegated to bullpen duty. This trade, then, could help the Nats roster become more “playoff ready.”
Names were not mentioned by Wittenmyer, but there are plenty for the Nats to choose from. The Cubs were ranked #2 for their farm system just this past offseason by Baseball Prospectus. Someone like Javier Baez, who was able to see some major league action in 2014, might be a candidate.
Obviously, it would be sad to see Zimmermann go, especially given the fact that he threw the first no-hitter in D.C. since baseball returned to Washington, but you can’t reject a move like this based on emotions. By making a trade, not only would the Nationals be able to boost their offense, but they can extend their window to compete for a title. For these reasons, the Nationals would be well-served to get a deal done.