15 worst Detroit Tigers free agent signings in franchise history

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2. Jordan Zimmermann, 2016-20

  • 5 years, $110 million
  • 2 WAR, 5.63 ERA (80 ERA+) in 99 games

You could look back on this deal with 20/20 hindsight and proclaim it to be doomed from the start. One of Al Avila’s worst deals, one of the worst contracts the Tigers ever handed out. But that’s only after Zimmermann suffered injury problems relatively early in his Tigers career. Before that, he was one of the top free-agent pitchers of that offseason. It’s just hard to remember that now.

Zimmermann came to the Tigers with a 3.32 ERA in Washington across seven years, having earned two All-Star team roster appearances and top-10 finishes in Cy Young voting twice as well. He even threw a no-hitter as well.

After earning the accolade of being named the Opening Day starter for Detroit, things went downhill. Zimmermann first hit the IL (then DL) in May with a groin strain. In July he was again out of action, this time due to his neck. He finished the year with a 4.87 ERA and 9-7 record.

In 2017, he managed to make 29 starts but went sub-.500 with an 8-13 record and an ERA that exploded to 6.08, the highest of his career at the time.

In 2019, it got worst when he went 1-13 with a 6.91 ERA. He made just two starts in 2020 before injuries again took a toll. He grand totals as a Tiger? 25-41 record and 5.63 ERA.