Zimmermann signs with Tigers
As had been expected, the Washington Nationals' stalwart right-handed pitcher Jordan Zimmermann signed a contract with another team, and it was a suitably juicy one. Yesterday it was announced that the Detroit Tigers will pay him $110 million over the next five years, confirming rumors that came out on Sunday. He'll get a thorough physical exam before the deal becomes final, probably checking his elbow which had Tommy John surgery six years ago. See the Washington Post. This year was a big disappointment for the Tigers, who probably regret letting Max Scherzer go. When they traded away David Price in late July (see below), their pitching rotation became even weaker, and Zimmermann was exactly what they need to become pennant race contenders again.
The $22 million annual salary Zimmermann will receive represents a big step up from what he would have been earning in Washington. As that Post article indicates (and which I noted on November 7), the Nationals made "qualifying offers" to both Jordan Zimmermann and shortstop Ian Desmond; the amount was of $15.8 million. The strange thing is that his contract with Detroit is only $5 million more than the $105 million five-year extension the Nationals offered him last winter. Since Zimmermann is the first of the big-name free agent pitchers to sign a contract during this off-season, it makes you wonder why he seemed eager to leave D.C. It had been speculated that he would prefer to play for a team closer to his home state of Wisconsin, perhaps the Cubs or the Brewers. Michigan isn't too far away from home.
Zimmermann had spent his entire major league career with the Nationals, beginning in 2009, when he led the team with 92 strikeouts. He missed the entire 2010 season after having Tommy John surgery, but then came roaring back in 2011, leading the team in strikeouts and ERA.
If there is any bright side for Nats fans in this melancholy news, at least we won't get confused between Ryan Zimmerman (ONE n) and Jordan Zimmermann (TWO ns) any more.
Farewell, and best wishes, Jordan!
You won't be forgotten!
Ironically, both of the players whose bobbleheads I got at games this year ended up switching to different teams. On July 20 in Detroit, I got a David Price bobblehead, and about a week later he was traded from the Tigers to the Blue Jays, who capitalized on his talent to make it all the way to the ALCS. (Coincidentally, I had just been in Toronto.) Even more ironic is the fact that the other bobblehead player (Jordan Zimmermann) is now heading to Detroit. Go figure.
* Here's something fun: I Googled "Steven Souza catch" to look for photos of that big moment, and I've gotta say, in terms of timing and angle, the photo I took (which is shown on the Sept. 29, 2014 blog post linked in the caption under the first photo above) seems to be one of the best ones. Too bad it wasn't a little sharper. Another fan got a nice closeup video, from which a freeze frame was taken.
Citizens Bank Park tweak
I made some minor changes to the Citizens Bank Park diagrams, the main new detail being "creases" in the grandstand. A clarification is needed, however: The previous diagrams showed "seams" that divide portions of the grandstand from each other. One is about 90 feet past third base, another is 45 feet to the left of the right field foul pole, and there is one each about ten feet away (on the inside) of the dugouts. In the diagrams, those seams are rendered as dark gray lines, whereas the creases are pale gray.
Speaking of Citizens Bank Park, on MASN this afternoon I was watching the June 19, 2013 game, in which the Nationals tied it in the ninth inning, and then won it 6-2 in the twelfth inning on a grand slam by Ian Desmond, the first of his career. He hit another one on April 10, 2014, when the Nats beat the Marlins 7-1; see my Washington Nationals page. "Desi" is another Nat stalwart who will be missed next year.
I also made a few tiny changes to the Minute Maid Park diagrams, most notably the inclusion of stadium lights in the "open, opaque" diagram version. Those lights tend to get cluttered, obscuring other important details in the diagrams, so I did not include them in the other versions. I should have mentioned one slight change compared to the diagram(s) I did in 2014: the sharp bend in the grandstand on the third base side is a few feet farther from the infield.
Heads up for fans
As we enter a new month, and as we approach a whole new year of baseball excitement, I want to alert the loyal followers of this blog / Web site that I will be soliciting advertisements and page sponsorships once again in the near future. I may even create a Facebook page to make it easier for fans to give me feedback and/or share tips. I hesitate to do so when my schedule prevents me from devoting adequate time to doing diagrams and other features, but I have recently gotten back into a groove of sorts, and the results should be evident to all in the coming days and weeks.