My mornings have become quite routine over the last several months: wake up, deoderize, brush teeth, check e-mail, re-read the morning post I scheduled here the night before for errors, and head over to MLBTradeRumors to see if anything noteworthy has happened or is in the works. Well, I could have sworn my eyes were deceiving me the other day upon reading that Jeff Zimmerman had signed a minor league contract with the Seattle Mariners after a tryout this week. Alas, what I read proved true, and Zimmerman is on his way to the Mariners farm system.
I wouldn’t be surprised if most readers here do not remember Zimmerman as he has not thrown a major league pitch since the 2001 season. Heck, I probably would not remember him if not for playing in APBA leagues growing up and owning the Rangers. Now 36 years of age, Zimmerman has a chance to put his two Tommy John Surgeries in the past and get back to the major leagues.
From 1999-2001, Zimmerman was a pretty effective reliever, for the most part missing bats, keeping walks in check, and limiting damage from home runs. He logged 65, 65, and 66 games in his three seasons with a career 3.27 ERA and 3.96 FIP. In his final season back in 2001, Zimmerman struck out 9.1 batter per nine innings with a 4.50 K/BB ratio. Unfortunately, our win values do not extend back past 2002, so Zimmerman’s tally is unavailable, but his WPA/LI marks of 3.09, -0.28, and 2.56 show that he definitely showcased the ability to succeed at the major league level.
This signing differs from the low-risk acquisitions of players like Mark Prior, Shawn Hill, and Matt Clement, all three of whom have been active in the majors or minors over the past three seasons. Zimmerman has been out of the game for almost eight years now. Will Carroll summed this move up best in his Under the Knife piece today: “This isn’t the same as taking a shot on a post-surgical Chad Cordero; this is a Disney movie if it works.”
I couldn’t agree more, and here’s hoping that one of the reputed good guys can get his long forgotten career back on track.