Detroit Tigers 3th Worst Contract – Jordan Zimmermann
Detroit’s disastrous 2015 season led to the trading of ace David Price and star outfielder Yoenis Céspedes, which in turn led to the firing of general manager Dave Dombrowski. New GM Al Avila was given the financial resources to bring the club back to the playoffs, and getting a top-of-the-rotation starter was priority one. Detroit had a handful of options that winter, though the top of the market — Price and Zack Greinke — figured to be too expensive. So the Tigers moved to the second/third tier of arms, which included Wei-Yin Chen, Johnny Cueto, Scott Kazmir, Ian Kennedy, Mike Leake, Jeff Samardzija, and Jordan Zimmermann.
Detroit’s choice of Jordan Zimmermann seemed logical enough at the time. He and Cueto had very similar numbers over the previous seven seasons, and Zimmermann was slightly younger and had the more “traditional” build. As it turns out, it didn’t really matter who the Tigers chose, because none of the pitchers from that group lived up to their contracts. FanGraphs thought Zimmermann was merely bad, costing the Tigers more than $22 million per win, but Baseball Reference thinks he was an utter disaster, with the Tigers failing to get a single win out of the deal. Zimmermann dealt with injuries to his back, elbow, forearm, neck, side, and shoulder during the contract, and it’s hard to know if he was ever truly healthy. He kept coming back to pitch, but he just couldn’t miss enough bats to find any sustained success.