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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.
- It's unclear what Johnny Cueto believes he's worth, but the answer is north of the $120 million that the Diamondbacks reportedly offered him.
- Zimmermann's deal pushes the Tigers toward the luxury tax threshold, as much of the salary relief from the loss of David Price, Yoenis Cespedes, Joakim Soria and more were already spent on salary increases elsewhere on the roster.
- Ben Zobrist is the Mets' primary target this offseason. No word yet on if he's their only target this winter, as Michael Cuddyer was a year ago.
- There are reasons for the Red Sox to be wary of trading Hanley Ramirez, as tempting as it might seem following his disaster 2015.
- The Marlins have a "strong fondness" for Jose Fernandez, which mostly makes me fearful for Jose Fernandez.
- The Reds' rebuild is a lie, writes Red Reporter.
- The Blue Jays signed J.A. Happ, and now they're looking to spend on their bullpen, possibly on Ryan Madson.
- Another young lady is striking young boys out, this time in the USSSA tournament. Oh, and she hit three dingers, too.