Notes and quotes from Zimmermann press conference

As I wrote for the site off the press conference, Jordan Zimmermann and the Tigers were a match of two sides with a mutual interest in getting a deal done early. Part of the reason was a shared comfort level; Zimmermann felt good about Detroit and the Tigers had prioritized Zimmermann early. Another part was a wariness of what might happen if they wait.

Zimmermann potentially could’ve gotten a bigger deal had he waited for David Price and Zack Greinke to sign, some admit. But he had no way of knowing what team would’ve been in position to make the offer, and how comfortable he would be with it. By moving early in the game of musical chairs, at least he had a choice.

“I knew what my value was and we got semi-close to what I was worth,” Zimmermann said in a smaller group session after his larger press conference. “We were going to jump early when the Tigers got to it. Obviously it’s nice to get close to home, and with a big ballpark, which I really like. I think it’s a perfect fit.

“Obviously if we didn’t get what I was worth, then we would’ve waited, played it out. But we got what we wanted and the team is a perfect fit, so it was a no-brainer.”

Asked if they could’ve benefited from waiting out the market, given their position as a team that doesn’t have to give up its first-round draft pick to sign any free agent, general manager Al Avila hesitated.

“Actually, it works both ways,” he said. “In some cases, there’s going to be certain guys that maybe the cost increases, and in some cases maybe the cost decreases. You really don’t know until it all plays out. It’s unpredictable.”

Word of mouth

While Zimmermann acknowledged that playing close to his Wisconsin home was a factor in his decision, he said it wasn’t a priority. Instead, Detroit’s appeal had a lot more to do with its early interest in him as a primary option rather than a what-if situation.

Nor, Zimmermann added, did word of mouth play a major factor for him with former teammates. Though he pitched in the same Nationals rotation this past season as former Tigers teammates Max Scherzer and Doug Fister, he said he only sought out Fister’s advice for minor issues, not a big-picture feel for the clubhouse and the city.

“I didn’t want to give him too much information,” Zimmermann said, “but he told me the best places to live in spring training, just small things like that. I haven’t talked with him a whole lot.”

By contrast, Fister had more feedback for Scherzer when he made the jump from Detroit to Washington as a free agent last winter.


Zimmermann went from a sub-.300 BABIP and sub-.270 batting average against fastballs in his history to a .309 BABIP and a .456 slugging percentage against his fastball this past season. That played a seemingly significant reason behind his jump in home runs allowed to 24, a career high and his first time over 20 despite another season of heavy work.

“I’m not concerned about it at all,” Zimmermann said. “I might have left a few more balls over the middle of plate and they just happened to go out. I remember a few home runs were they were really good pitches up and in, where I like to live. Stuff like that’s going to happen. Hopefully this big ballpark’s going to help me out.”


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“We made him an offer and it looked like he was going to take it, then all of the sudden he wanted a little bit more and it was a great number,” Ilitch told reporters. “It irked me a little bit. I figured, ‘how much do you want? I just asked you what you wanted.’ Then he tells me he wants more.”

In business, they call that a negotiation.

imo, that’s not how negotiations are usually done when there is only one bidder. asking for more later is anticipated when there are multiple bidders.

“I didn’t win with him,” Ilitch said. “We were close, he’s a great guy, but there’s times that you have to change. [If] you’re not winning, you have to change. So I made up my mind — I have to change. So I called him and I told him like a gentleman.”

Ilitch: “I don’t care about the money. I want the best players.”

Ilitch: “I don’t care about the money. I want the best players.”
If that was literally true, they would sign both Price and Greinke. I don’t think Mr. I will get that championship he wants so badly, simply because baseball is too dicey, and I don’t see that as failing. I give him lots of credit for trying, though. At least we’ll have good teams to follow.

I came to write the same thing about Greinke and Price

me, too.

So, is Ilitch lying or unable to articulate clearly?

Is that the only two choices?

best to evoke a Torii Hunterism on this one: ‘that’s a hot tamale’

“Hopefully this big ballpark’s going to help me out” Juan Gone agrees

Ha, that ballpark drove that man crazy. He was dealing with the original dimensions, too.

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according to MLB HR Tracker, Zimmer gave up 1 inside park HR, 17 of other 23 HR would have been HRs almost anywhere (at least 25 of 30 MLB parks)

17 is close to his usual numbers. What I’ve liked from watching him these past few years is his intangibles; work ethic, team guy, determination, etc. He was my favorite starter in a very good rotation.

Concerning the challenges to Illitch’s statement, I took what he had to say at face value. He reportedly made an earlier similar statement when he literally opened his checkbook at a management meaning. If he didn’t mean what he said, then maybe someone can explain why he said what he did because I sure can’t.

It’s hyperbole.

Could be, although he sure didn’t seem to me like he was making an intentional exaggeration.

Illitch: “It might sound silly but I don’t care about spending money. I want to get as many good players out there as possible.”

My take on it is it’s more complicated than just getting “good” players. You need role players, you need team chemistry etc. But, I think it’s been proven over and over that Illitch is willing to spend on big names. They just haven’t worked out all that well.

That being said, I am not sure why he doesn’t spend on Price or Cespedes. Those 2 have worked out pretty well here. So something seems to be a bit off with his statement. There obviously is a limit to his spending.

Bernard ,ended his Winter league season with: 288 .337 .400 .737 20 games 80 AB.

You have to give Mr I a bit of leeway – don’t know what it is like to spend $110m on an employee for 5 years with no guarantee of any positive return. I think I would at least show a bit of bravado.
I thought it was clear the luxury tax limit is the budget set for Avila to work with though Mr I will exceed it in the end if that is what it takes to complete their roster needs.

I must admit to feeling a little odd to be the only one on this blog who believes illitch in his desire to win and his willingness to spend to achieve his goal. I didn’t think I would need to defend his statement of ” I don’t care about the money.I want the best players.” Especially after Illitch let DD go due to his failure to win the WS, despite his successful run with the Tigers.

I believe Illitch, and I love it. Why care about the luxury tax?

As it stands the team is actually not nearly good enough to win (it all).
Norris is young, untested, unproven. Anibal is very iffy at this stage of his career. Verlander is a shadow of his former self. Zimmermann is a #2 type starter IMHO.
They still need another #1 or #2 type. The rotation (nor the lineup) is not solid and dependable enough to simply sign a #4 or #5 type of innings eater.
Don’t get me wrong, JZ was a good signing, but the rhetoric of spending is not enough. It will actually have to happen.

I disagree, with the right chemistry, fire, desire.. etc.. they have the talent to do it.
Compare the Royals pitching staff last year. I think Tigers stack up comparably if not better based on stuff and proven history. I haven’t looked at the numbers so I could be wrong.

Tigers surely have a shot to win it all. Still a lot of talent, offensively and defensively. Vmart needs to stay of tread mills in the off season, Miggy needs to stay healthy, etc. No team has 5 starters without question marks. And the Giants won a world series with 1 hot starter in 2014 and not nearly the talent of Detroit.

And thanks to Jason for giving us a new heading on the best Tiger BLOG anywhere.

DD gave 217/7 to Price

Comfort was reportedly a big thing for Price, and the biggest contract for a pitcher in history made him comfortable.
The theme of today’s posts should be “action speaks louder than words.”

In another defense of Illitch. Imagine paying a 37yr old Price 31MM. What your team might look like then. If your goal is to win it all this year at any costs you could put together a 300MM payroll and do it. in 3-5 years where are you though?

That is a damn scary contract. Fenway Park may not be too terribly friendly for David into his mid 30’s

3 years opt-out
But BoSox is above the luxury tax already. Since they paid this year, the penalty will be higher

So Price is going to make roughly $10 mil more per season than our man Zimmermann. I expect Jordan to win 15-20 games, so Price will need to win what, 30? 35? David will make over $9000 per pitch.
And Greinke wants more than Price. It’s a pissing contest.

Price, a native of Nashville, Tenn., was enamored with joining the Cardinals, who have reached the postseason the last five seasons, with two pennants and a World Series title. Yet, the Red Sox’s offer simply was too strong for him to refuse.

Does this mean we now get to hate Price more than Max?

Why do you hate them? Because the negotiated good contracts for themselves? Would you turn that money down?
In my opinion, both Price and Max gave full effort for Detroit and were some of the best pitchers we will ever see wear the D. I still root for both of them, they are the kind of guys you want on your team. I hope you hate that they are no longer with us.

My comment was made in jest. I wish the Tigers had locked both guys up. But, if you read this blog regularly you will find that Max, in particular, still gets a lot of flack.

Flak, not flack.

“Maxed” out and over “Priced”.

Tigers and Bosox with similar offseason so far: both acquire closer, top of rotation starter, and outfielder

He deserved it, long career track, LH and healthy. He was signed for the amount projected.

And once the Tigers kept Ausmus, there was no chance of him coming back

Justice: “AL East Belongs to Boston.”

They said that last year as well, in the preseason.

The same for the Tigers.

For some reason, replies here are showing up in reverse order, as if “newest displayed first.” That throws an orderly back and forth conversation based on the original comment all out of whack. Watch out for that, everyone, to avoid confusion and misconceptions. (I’m assuming everyone is seeing the same thing)

Yes, we’ve seen this happen before. Is it because some of us live in different time zones? I really don’t understand why this happens, but it’s irritating.

Furbush is a better recovery project than those DD liked

Feliz and Al2 to be non tendered. As expected for the former

I figured Feliz would be non-tendered as did Beck. No way he was going to get the Arb value conjectured by some. Now let’s see if he is signed by the Tigers for about $3M, as speculated.

Money talks have stalled with Feliz. Per Beck: “As long as Feliz is throwing hard he’ll get a shot somewhere.”

AlAl was relatively cheap and the BP doesn’t have much depth. Have to wonder at Avila’s plan for the BP and who he has lined up for replacements.

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