When the reports first surfaced that the Washington Nationals had put Jordan Zimmermann on the trade block, it just didn’t seem to make any sense. Why would the defending NL East champions move their ace just over a month after he completed his best season in the Majors?
Well, according to SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo, there is talk around the league that the primary motivation to move Zimmermann would be to then turn around and sign prized Detroit Tigers free agent Max Scherzer.
According to league sources, industry speculation is that the Nationals could be looking to move Zimmermann and/or Fister in order to position themselves for a potential pursuit of free-agent starter Max Scherzer.
This fits tightly with what Bob Nightengale of USA Today indicated earlier on Friday.
The #Nats are informing teams that ace Jordan Zimmermann is available,but only if they get strong return,emphasizing it is not a salary dump
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) November 20, 2014
Zimmermann, 28, is coming off a 2014 campaign that saw him boast 2.66 ERA and finish fifth in the NL Cy Young voting. He’s under team control through the 2015 season at $16.5 million.
That right there is motivation enough.
Zimmermann has indicated that there has been no extension negotiations between the two sides. It makes sense that Washington would look at adding Scherzer, a former Cy Young winner, to a long-term deal while still getting a nice bounty for Zimmermann in a trade.
Scherzer, 30, led the American League with 18 wins this past season and is 39-8 since the start of the 2013 campaign. He’s considered one of the top pitchers in baseball.
Among the teams that have been rumored to be interested in Zimmermann are the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs. Both have the pieces to get a deal done.
As it relates to Doug Fister, he’s also an intriguing option for teams. Coming off his best season (16-6, 2.41 ERA), the Nationals might view him as a sell-high candidate.
Photo: USA Today