Tigers Could Have Another Trade Chip in Jordan Zimmermann

Detroit Tigers starter Jordan Zimmermann was lights out again Friday night. He twirled eight innings of one-run ball, punched out 11 batters — the most he’s had since joining the Tigers in 2016 — in a 3-1 win over the Texas Rangers.

And would you look at that? The Detroit Tigers now have another trade candidate on their hands as we’re a little more than three weeks away from the July 31 trade deadline.

His latest win pushed his season record to a perfect 4-0 and lowered his ERA to 3.51. Dating back to April 30, Zimmermann has made just six starts since a right-shoulder injury sidelined him for five weeks. But spanning those six outings, he’s thrown 37 innings, permitting five earned runs, walking five and striking out 34.

He hasn’t walked a batter since July 25. He’s surrendered just one home run over his previous six starts, which came Friday to Shin-Soo Choo on the second pitch of the night. After Choo’s 436-foot blast, Zimmermann limited the Texas offense to just three singles.

Heading into Friday, his 8.38 strikeouts per nine innings was the best mark of his career since his rookie campaign in 2009 with the Washington Nationals, when it was a few ticks higher at 9.07.

This is the arm the Tigers planned on acquiring when they inked him to a five-year contract for $110 million in November of 2015. After two disastrous seasons to begin his tenure in Detroit, Zimmermann has been the Tigers’ best starter this season. Surely clubs will at least look into a trade, right?

After another gem on Friday, @tigers starter Jordan Zimmermann looks like an ace again. Could Detroit, sellers at the upcoming trade deadline, deal Zimmermann?Click To Tweet

The only caveat with that comes courtesy of his beefy contract. He’s making $24 million this season and $50 million combined for the next two years. The Tigers wouldn’t bank on much in return other than it serving as a salary dump.

Zimmermann has the second largest contract on the team behind Miguel Cabrera, and the ability to take it off the books would be ideal.

The New York Yankees could take a flier on Zimmermann, who have already expressed interest in Detroit’s Michael Fulmer. The Yankees will shop for a starting pitcher or two in a hotly-contested American League East division that could be decided by starting pitching.

The Yankees may be in an even bigger hole for starting pitching help after Sonny Gray gave up five runs in two innings Friday against Toronto. It pushed his ERA to 5.85 and marked the fourth time in five outings he’s surrendered more than four runs.

Among other suitable candidates for Zimmermann’s services may include the Philadelphia Phillies and Milwaukee Brewers, two contending clubs immersed in competitive divisions.

If the Tigers aren’t able to move him, the silver-lining in that scenario would be that Zimmermann feels his stuff is currently the best he’s flashed in his 10-year career. At any rate, it’s food for thought.

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