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Jordan Zimmermann and the Tigers couldn't wait until the winter meetings

Monday's Say Hey, Baseball includes the Jordan Zimmermann signing, Ben Zobrist and concern for Jose Fernandez. Subscribe for your daily Say Hey!

Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

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The first major signing of the 2015-2016 offseason has occurred, as the Tigers and Jordan Zimmermann agreed to a five-year, $110 million contract. This time last year, the assumption was that Zimmermann would end up with a deal similar to whatever Jon Lester signed, but a tough 2015 season cut into his price just enough so that he was "only" able to pull in $22 million per season over five years. Even tough is a relative term: Zimmermann still posted a 110 ERA+ and threw over 200 innings this past summer, so even if he's never the old Zimm again, he's still got something to offer.

It's no surprise Zimmermann jumped on a deal early, however, given both his lesser 2015 and the abundance of alternatives on the market. He could wait around, sure, but if Zack Greinke and David Price and Johnny Cueto all get less than expected, it's not going to help Zimmermann's market any, and avoiding a late-winter situation where the holes are filled and the options reduced, akin to James Shields' a year ago, is preferable for any free agent. The Tigers offered him a deal that seems fair to both sides, and they aren't likely to be out of contention long, so Zimmermann went for it.

Whether this signals the opening of the floodgates remains to be seen: the winter meetings don't begin until next week, and the likes of Price, Cueto, etc. have already waited this long. Maybe Zimmermann's valuation will speed their processes along, though, as they can now say, "Well, if he's worth that, I'm definitely worth this," with "this" being much closer to the $200 million range for at least one of those arms.