St. Louis Cardinals v Washington Nationals - Game Four

Jordan Zimmermann isn’t concerned about signing a long-term extension with the Nationals

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Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann signed a two-year, $24 million deal to avoid arbitration back in January. The right-hander, who has finished each of the past three seasons with an ERA of 3.25 or better, had been discussing a long-term deal with the organization, but the two sides were ultimately too far apart and agreed on the two-year deal to avoid the arbitration-related headaches.

Zimmermann also says that the recent six-year, $105 million extension between the Reds and Homer Bailey isn’t affecting his perception of his own value. Via MLB.com’s Bill Ladson:

“I really didn’t think about [Bailey]. I’m obviously happy for him. It’s well deserving,” Zimmermann said on Friday afternoon. “I’m locked up for two years and happy to be here for two years. What he does has no effect on me.”

[…]

Asked why he recently accepted the two-year extension, Zimmermann said, “The long-term deal wasn’t the right deal. It just didn’t work out. They came to us with a two-year deal. Let’s get this out of the way, so we don’t have to worry about arbitration for the next two years. We can just focus on baseball. We felt it was right, and I think it was fair for both sides, and we got the deal done.”

Zimmermann has quietly been one of baseball’s best pitchers since earning a spot in the Nats’ rotation back in 2011. In fact, among starters with at least 400 innings pitched since the start of 2011, Zimmermann’s 3.12 ERA is tied for sixth best in baseball, tied with Madison Bumgarner and teammate Gio Gonzalez.

Player ERA IP From To
Clayton Kershaw 2.21 697.0 2011 2013
Johnny Cueto 2.61 433.2 2011 2013
Jered Weaver 2.77 578.2 2011 2013
Cliff Lee 2.80 666.1 2011 2013
Justin Verlander 2.81 707.2 2011 2013
Madison Bumgarner 3.12 614.1 2011 2013
Gio Gonzalez 3.12 597.0 2011 2013
Jordan Zimmermann 3.12 570.1 2011 2013
David Price 3.13 622.0 2011 2013
James Shields 3.15 705.2 2011 2013
Cole Hamels 3.15 651.1 2011 2013
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 2/22/2014.

It may not be today or even this time next year, but Zimmermann will eventually get his long-term contract. If not from the Nationals, then certainly elsewhere.

Mitt Romney’s sons are trying to buy a stake in the Yankees

TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 30:  Tagg Romney son of Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gives an interview during the final day of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 30, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was nominated as the Republican presidential candidate during the RNC which will conclude today.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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Mitt Romney built his professional life in Massachusetts and was once the governor of the state. As such, it is not surprising that he has long identified as a Red Sox fan. So this has to be troubling to him from a fan’s perspective. From Jon Heyman:

The Romney family is bidding to buy a small stake in the Yankees months after their try for the Marlins stalled. If the deal goes through, it is expected to be $25 million to $30 million per percentage point and thought to be interested in one or two percentage points. The Yankees are valued around $3 billion or more.

The effort is being led by Mitt’s son Tagg, one of his brothers and their business partners. Mitt’s spokesman tells Jon Heyman that he has nothing to do with it personally. Tagg Romney is reported to have been planning a bid for controlling interest in the Marlins, but that has fallen through.

I find this interesting insofar as the M.O. for the Steinbrenners has, for years, been to buy out minority shareholders in the Yankees, not seek more. Indeed, when George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees back in 1973 he held just a bare controlling interest and there were a ton of silent partners, most of which were back in Ohio and knew Steinbrenner from his shipping business. I’ve personally gotten to know some of them over the years as there are a handful of them in Columbus and I crossed paths with them in my legal career. They have almost all been bought out in the past couple of decades. They still get season tickets and World Series rings and stuff. You can tell them by their personalized Yankees plates and the fact that, within the first ten minutes of meeting them, they will tell you that they once owned a piece of the Yankees but got pushed out.

In light of all of that it’s interesting that the Steinbrenners are once again accepting bids for small stakes in the team. Especially from someone whose interest in controlling the Marlins suggests that they do not consider it to be a mere vanity investment. Makes me wonder what the Steinbrenners’ long term plans are.

Max Scherzer still can’t throw fastballs

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: Max Scherzer #31 of the Washington Nationals works against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fifth inning during game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 13, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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The Nationals will be many people’s favorites in the NL East this season. Not everything is looking great, however. For example, their ace — defending NL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer — can’t even throw fastballs right now.

The reason: the stress fracture he suffered last August is still causing him problems and Scherzer is unable to use his fastball grip without feeling pain in his right ring finger. He will throw a bullpen session tomorrow, but will only use his secondary stuff.

Scherzer has not been ruled out for Opening Day — the fact that he is throwing some means that his timetable isn’t totally on hold — but you have to figure, at some point, not being able to air things out and use his heater will lead to some problems in his spring training routine.