“I have had the joy of playing the game that I love for the past 15 years,” Zimmermann said. “I will be forever grateful to the Washington Nationals and Detroit Tigers for allowing me to live this dream. It was especially special to be able to end it all while playing for my hometown team, the Milwaukee Brewers. Thank you to all of my friends, teammates and family who have been by my side throughout this incredible journey. I will miss the game dearly, but I’m ready for the next phase of my life. “
The University of Wisconsin’s Division III second-round pick Steven’s Point in 2007, Zimmermann was in the thick of it even two years later. He managed the Nationals’ rotation early in the year with limited minor league experience and held on through 16 starts, hitting a 4.63 ERA in 91 1/3 frames. Unfortunately, Zimmermann’s elbow started barking in early summer, and by August he had had Tommy John surgery which wiped out his next year. He returned at the end of 2010 and pitched 31 innings.
It was the 2011 season, however, where Zimmermann really cemented his place in the Nationals’ plans. He broke with 161 2/3 innings of 3.18 ERA balls and was a fixture in the club’s rotation for the next half decade. Zimmermann was on the All-Star squad in 2013 and 2014 and finished in the top seven of Cy Young’s vote in both seasons. In his last five seasons with the Nats, Zimmermann was an enduring workhorse who averaged 194 innings per year while throwing towards a combined ERA of 3.14 and 3.30 FIP with one of the best orders. of all pitchers in the game.
Zimmermann’s highlight with the Nationals was undoubtedly a smooth hit in 2014 when he last appeared of the season – a masterpiece of 10 strikeouts and a march that will remain one of the best performance in franchise history. He’s almost gone the distance on his next start: a National League series showdown with eventual world champions Giants. Zimmermann threw 8 2/3 shutout innings before walking Joe Panik – how much then-manager Matt Williams hung it for Drew Storen. Storen served back-to-back hits, shattering the Nationals’ 1-0 lead in a game that would turn into an 18-end marathon won by the Giants.
This excellent performance unsurprisingly made him one of the best starting free agent starting pitchers in the market as he entered his 30-year season. The five-year, $ 110 million deal he finally signed with the Tigers is actually a bit lighter than some tipsters expected – including our prediction here at MLBTR (six years, $ 126 million). For a pitcher with Zimmermann’s durability and consistency, it seemed like an eminently reasonable contract that would help stabilize the Tigers’ rotation for the foreseeable future.
As we all know, this is not how it turned out. Zimmermann was slowed down by a neck injury in his debut season with Detroit and struggled to reach a 4.87 ERA in 19 appearances. Zimmermann made 29 starts the following year but was beaten for a 6.08 ERA, and the 4.52 mark he made from 25 starts in 2018 ended up being the best of his five years. in Detroit.
It was a constant struggle to stay healthy in Detroit for Zimmermann, who spent time on the injured list not only due to the previously mentioned neck strain, but also with lateral strain, shoulder conflict. , UCL sprain, cervical spasms in the back, and strained forearm. This mountain of injuries has clearly taken its toll on the former All-in-All, Zimmermann spent half a decade with the Tigers and only put together a 5.63 ERA in 514 frames.
This offseason, Zimmermann signed a minor league contract with his hometown club. He headed to the Brewers’ alternative training site when he didn’t earn a spot in the spring roster, and the right-hander rather candidly admitted he was in the process of retiring when the Brewers l ‘have called in the big leagues. Zimmermann jokingly told reporters earlier this month that he was retired “for about two hours” before receiving the call. He pitched 5 2/3 innings in a Brewers jersey to put a bow on what was a great career overall, even though injuries derailed the second half of his Major League tenure.
Few of the Division III pitchers even stand out to big league scouts – not to mention second-round draft status and a skyrocketing 18-month rush trip through minors and big leagues. That’s exactly what Zimmermann has done, however, and as the dust settles now he’s heading for retirement with a career 4.07 average through 1614 Major League innings. The right-hander posted a 95-91 record, knocked out 1,271 Majors hitters and racked up more than $ 143 million in earnings over a career valued at 20.3 wins over replacement at Baseball-Reference and 25 , 5 WAR at FanGraphs.