The Detroit Tigers have agreed to sign right-handed starter Jordan Zimmermann, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported Sunday.
Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reported that Zimmermann's deal will be a five-year deal around $110 million. Morosi and Ken Rosenthal reported late Saturday evening that Zimmermann and Detroit were talking about a deal.
Zimmermann becomes the first major free agent to sign a contract this offseason. He had been connected to the Cubs and Dodgers along with the Tigers since the beginning of the offseason, but ultimately decided to sign with Detroit.
The Tigers, under new GM Al Avila, have been busy this offseason, acquiring Francisco Rodriguez and Cameron Maybin in trades before making the Zimmermann signing.
The team went 74-87 last season and finished at the bottom of a crowded AL Central.
It's hard to know exactly how much Zimmermann will help Detroit contend again. He has been worth 12 fWAR over the past three years, but at $22 million per year, it is hard to see this deal paying off for the Tigers in terms of payment versus performance.
With that said, however, the only way the Tigers were going to sign a frontline starting pitcher was by paying the price. In an offseason where J.A. Happ gets $12 million per season, $22 million for Jordan Zimmermann no longer looks that bad.
Zimmermann's signing kicks off an excellent starting pitching free agent class, with David Price, Zack Greinke, Johnny Cueto, and others all looking for a new home.
The 29-year-old Zimmermann went 13-10 with a 3.66 ERA (3.75 FIP) in 201 2/3 innings pitched last season, posting a 164 to 39 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Zimmermann was the ace of the Nationals' pitching staff, being named a National League All-Star in 2013 and 2014.
His best year came in 2014, when he went 14-5 with a 2.66 ERA (2.68 FIP) over 32 starts. He posted a 1.3 BB/9 ratio that year, which was the best in the National League.
By signing Zimmermann, who had received a qualifying offer fro Washington, the Tigers will lose their second-round draft selection in the 2016 MLB Draft. The Nationals will get a compensatory pick between the first and second rounds.
At $22 million per season, the Tigers appear to be getting Zimmermann at a fair market-value price. As of now, their starting rotation consists of Zimmermann, Anibal Sanchez, Justin Verlander, Daniel Norris, and either Buck Farmer or Shane Greene.
As a group, the Tigers' starters posted the fourth-highest ERA in the Major Leagues last season. Zimmermann will fill an obvious need as they look to contend once again.