Hal Steinbrenner to Joe Giradi: "I can't imagine this team without you"

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MLB.com’s Barry Bloom sat down with Hal Steinbrenner recently. During their conversation Little Stein, after first reiterating that he doesn’t do contract extensions until the current contracts actually end, strongly suggested that Joe Girardi isn’t going anywhere:

“Quite frankly, I had a talk with him,” Steinbrenner said. “I said,
‘Joe, this is something you can’t take personally. It’s something I’ve
never done. It’s something I don’t believe in, and I don’t believe in
making exceptions. But I can’t imagine this team without you. So know
that.’ And he was fine with it. It is what is.

“I hope everybody is reasonable and we can work it out easily. But
there’s no doubt I want them here.”

The “them” refers to Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, who also are winding down their current contracts. But no one really doubted that they’d remain in the fold. There’s always a chance, however, that Girardi wouldn’t be back, either because the team disappoints or because he asks for too much money or what have you. These quotes, however, make it sound like Girardi is going to be around regardless.

Which makes sense. If this Yankees team doesn’t have a great year, it’s not very likely that it will be due to something Girardi does or doesn’t do. It will be because of injuries or one of the older players finally feeling his age or something like that.

Girardi is a good company man. He deals with the scrutiny from the press pretty well.  The players seem to like him. He hasn’t mishandled the assets he’s been given to manage. Those are the most important traits for a New York Yankees manager. He deserves a new deal in my mind.

Tigers agree to deal with starter Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann
AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Hey, the hot stove is finally generating some real fire …

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Tigers have agreed to terms on a contract with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. It’s a five-year deal worth around $110 million, per Jon Morosi of FOX Sports.

This should have a domino effect on a loaded starting pitching market. David Price, Zack Greinke, Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, and Jeff Samardzija are just a few of the names still out there.

Zimmermann, 29, posted a 3.66 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and 164/39 K/BB ratio in 201 2/3 innings this past season for the Nationals. He had a 2.66 ERA in 2014 and threw a no-hitter on the final day of the regular season.

Zimmermann’s free agency is tied to draft pick compensation because he rejected a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from Washington, but the Tigers finished with one of the 10-worst win-loss records in 2015 so their first-round pick in 2016 is protected. Detroit will give up its second-round pick instead.

Video: Statcast’s 10 longest home runs from 2015

Giancarlo Stanton
AP Photo/Joe Skipper

Here’s a pretty good way to finally break out of that turkey-induced Thanksgiving tryptophan coma.

It’s a compilation of the 10 longest home runs from the 2015 season, with MLB.com’s Statcast technology providing data along the path of each blast …

Tigers in discussions with Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.

Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.

Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.

Blue Jays still focused on upgrading their pitching

Marco Estrada
AP Photo/LM Otero

Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.

The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.

Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.