By: Kurt Snyder & Holly Horning
Starting pitching will always be a major point of emphasis in judging how well a team is playing, progressing or regressing. From a Tiger standpoint, there is one pitcher that continues to baffle us, and not in a good way.
On this Tuesday, our writers have observations worthy of discussion. If you are new to Totally Tigers, please note that Kurt and Holly do not share their answers to weekly topics in an attempt to give you, the reader, a wider range of perspective.
Here’s our topic for today.
What should the Tigers do with Jordan Zimmermann?
In almost every start, Jordan struggles with command, tends to continually make mistakes up in the zone and continues to pitch himself and his team out of ballgames. Between his chronic neck injury and his ineffectiveness, we have yet to see any prolonged success since the first half of his first season in Detroit.
So what should the Tigers do? Absolutely nothing! I believe Chris Bosio, when he came to Detroit, was given some pet projects; stretch goals if you will. And more than likely, 2 pitchers, Zimmermann and Daniel Norris were at the top of the list to concentrate on as the biggest challenges.
Both are important pieces, but Zimmermann probably most important, given the high dollar investment. But this is a rebuilding season, and we have a new pitching coach who seems to be making an impact, so let him do his job.
Let him work with Jordan and see what he can figure out. There is no need to do anything drastic like sending him to Toledo or anything like that.
Let the man pitch – period.
Ah, that is the $74-million-dollar question for the team’s second most expensive player after Miggy.
First of all, the last thing the Tigers will do is to cut him loose – an action that usually gets the GM who signed him fired or at least put on life support. Considering that reports had Chris Ilitch keeping Brad Ausmus because he didn’t want to pay the buyout and also have to hire another manager, it’s highly unlikely that such a thrifty man will let these millions simply walk out the door.
Let’s not forget that Zimm started with the Tigers in 2016 and posted 8 wins and 2 losses – sporting a 2.45 ERA – before getting injured and spending the rest of the year with a clueless medical staff until he decided to return to his own Washington, DC doctor for help.
Two years later, the injuries and change in delivery to compensate for said injuries have forced him to abandon what originally made him successful. The good news is that Chris Bosio has seen some of the changes and is working to correct them, unlike his predecessor. The bad news is that this takes awhile as we saw with Justin Verlander who changed his delivery because of his core issue problems.
Until last night, Jordan hasn’t been able to get through the 6th inning this year so the Tigers may want to consider taking a page out of the Mets’ playbook as they did with starter Matt Harvey by moving him to the bullpen so he can work things out. It’s not the best solution but it’s really the only viable one – and now more unlikely given Daniel Norris’ injury.
With the huge chunk of change he is still owed, J-Z is also untradeable – that is, unless the Tigers can unload him and his salary by pairing him with Michael Fulmer in a trade to another team. And we better hope that it will not come down to this.
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