Dozens of players are agreeing to one-year deals to avoid arbitration, but Jordan Zimmermann and the Nationals are among those inking two-year contracts.
Washington has bought out Zimmermann’s final two seasons of arbitration eligibility for $24 million, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. He’ll get $7.5 million this season and $16.5 million in 2015, at which point Zimmermann will be able to hit the open market as a 29-year-old free agent.
Zimmermann is coming off a fantastic season in which he led the NL with 19 wins and threw 213 innings with a 3.25 ERA and 161/40 K/BB ratio. He has a 3.40 career ERA in 113 career starts, including a 3.12 mark in 90 starts since 2011.
Manager Bud Black has tabbed Jon Gray to start on Opening Day for the Rockies. That will be Monday, April 3 in Milwaukee against the Brewers in an afternoon contest.
Gray, 25, is starting Opening Day for the first time in his career. He’ll be the sixth different Rockies pitcher to start Opening Day in as many years.
The Rockies and Gray had a bit of a scare on Friday as he left his spring training start with discomfort in his left foot, but everything came up clean in an MRI. He pitched again on Wednesday with no issue.
Last season, Gray went 10-10 with a 4.61 ERA and a 185/59 K/BB ratio in 168 innings. A consensus top prospect entering each of the previous three seasons, Gray surprisingly put up better numbers at Coors Field — the most hitter-friendly park in baseball — than away.
Today Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker named Blake Treinen as his closer. Treinen has saved exactly one big league game.
There wasn’t necessarily an obvious choice, however. Last year Washington had Mark Melancon, but with him gone and GM Mike Rizzo’s failure to land a high-profile closer in the offseason, it became a contest between Treinen Shawn Kelley and Koda Glover.
Treinen posted a 2.28 ERA with 31 walks and 63 Ks in 67 innings in 2016. His big improvement last year came against lefties, who had tattooed him in the past. He pitched well this spring as well, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything.
The Nats are our favorites to win the NL East, but we do have some questions about the pen. Blake Treinen will take the first crack at answering them.