Do the Milwaukee Brewers have their next Wade Miley reclamation-type starting pitcher?
The Wisconsin native has been signed to a minor league contract with an invitation to Major League camp.
The 34-year old spent the last five seasons with the Detroit Tigers and now gets to stay with a Midwest team. He signed a five year, $110MM contract in 2015 after four solid years of starts for the Washington Nationals.
His recent years in Detroit were not his strongest. He ended with ERAs of 4.87, 6.08, 4.52 and 6.91 between 2015 and 2019. In 2020, Zimmerman was placed on the 45-day injured list with a right forearm strain right before the season started. He only appeared in three games last season, and recorded only two starts. He ended with a record of 0-0 and a 7.94 ERA over three games.
His time with Detroit didn’t have his lowest ERAs, but there were some bright spots. In 2016, Zimmerman was named the AL Pitcher of the Month in April. He recorded his 1,000th career strikeout in 2017.
His stats between 2018 and 2020 were definitely high, but also battled injuries all three years. Besides last season, he was struck in the face in April of 2018 and placed on the 10-day disabled list for a shoulder strain. He then had a UCL sprain in 2019 and also ended up on the disabled list for a few months.
His years in Washington before the $110MM contract was a different story. In 2012, he had a record of 12-8 and ERA of 2.94. In 2013, he was 19-9 and 3.25. 14-5 with a 2.66 ERA in 2014, and ended his tenure in Washington in 2015 with a 13-10 record and 3.66 ERA.
In 2014, Zimmerman threw the first no-hitter in Washington Nationals history. They won 1-0 against the Miami Marlins on September 28th. He was named to the All-Star Game in 2013, but chose not to play due to stiffness in his neck.
2021 and Milwaukee
Zimmerman is in a prime position to be a solid back-end rotation starter. He is with a new team and back to his home state and primed for a fresh start. He was born in Auburndale, Wisconsin and played baseball for the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
There was talk back in 2015 that Jordan was interested in being signed by the Brewers, but the team was basically starting a re-build at that point. It wouldn’t have been the smartest move to sign a high-profile free agent pitcher. His salary would have also handcuffed the Brewers during their 2018 run at the World Series.
If Zimmerman can stay healthy and come anywhere close to his Washington numbers, he might offer some great support and depth at the back end of the starting rotation. It will be fun to see who ends up filling out that rotation between Zimmerman, Brent Suter, Eric Lauer, Freddy Peralta and Blaine Hardy.