Nationals Baseball: ZNN's price set

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

ZNN's price set

Lester chose to go with 6/155 to the Cubs. There was some talk out there (I'm going to guess floated by the Boras camp) that the Giants could have gone 7/168. This means that the going rate for Jordan Zimmermann is roughly 25 mill a year for 6 years, or 6/150.  That's where the discussions will (or more accurately should) end up around.

What do I think ZNN's camp should shoot for? Well personally I think ZNN > Scherzer > Lester (younger, fewer IP over past few years, no declining FB speed, more of a GB pitcher) so if I were ZNN I'd set the bar higher. 7/175. That's 25 a year for 7 years. If I'm letting the Nats buy out this arbitration year, that is a 6/150 contract for the FA years, right in line with Lester and ZNN is a year and a half younger. In ZNN's camp I would argue that the market sees this potentially as doing the Nats a favor. Another year like last and 7/200 isn't out of the question after next year.  The 7th year right now from the Nats is key. Lester's deal will end with his age 36 season. Scherzer, if he gets 7 years, will end at the same time. The comparable contract by end age right now for ZNN would be an EIGHT year deal. Seven is arguably more than fair.

What do the Nats think? If the truth is that they did offer him a 4 or 5 year deal (buying out arb years) last year then they have an enormous hurdle to get over. As I've noted before, the Nats don't do long pitcher contracts for ANY pitcher. They don't do old pitcher contracts for any pitcher. If they are going to continue with that line of thinking I think the best bet then is to try to drastically overpay for a short contract. 4/120? 3/100? Try to make it short enough that it's compelling to ZNN to think about it because he might be able to get another big contract after those years. Still that's crazy money you're talking about in the short term. However, what else can the Nats do? If they are trying to get away with say... a 6/120 or 5/125 deal right now, I don't see why ZNN's camp even bothers to respond to that.

There you go.  If the Nats could get ZNN 6/150, including re-negotiating that arbitration deal they should do it now, then build a time machine so they can go back and do it again whenever they want. (really is a 5/125 FA year deal at that point for a guy a year younger than the two mentioned above).  I don't see it happening though. I see ZNN's camp focused on the 7th year (especially if Scherzer gets 7) and I see the Nats probably not trying to go past 5. Money could also be the sticking point but I see contract length as the real decider.


Jay said...

What if the Nats proposed 6/136.5, keeping the $16.5 he's under contract for in 2015 and paying $24m/per year for 5 free agent years? Maybe even 7/160.5 if you add another free agent year? I can imagine the Nats making that offer, if they foresee a reasonable increase in revenues.

Harper said...

I wouldn't take the first if I were ZNN I think I could get 6/150 easy next offseason making that not even close. 2nd one would be something to at least mull, but probably reject.

Jay said...

It does seem pretty likely he could get 6/150 next year. But if he isn't going to give any sort of discount for avoiding the risk of injury/poor performance and the problems associated with changing teams (including potentially choosing between LA, Boston and NY, three places he may not want to be), then I'm sure the Nats won't sign him. And I'm not sure they should under those circumstances.

JWLumley said...

First of all, no Christmas movie reviews? For shame.

Second, If they can get NN for the same deal Lester got they should jump all over it.

Third, it's December, I still don't like Matt Williams. We'll see if January brings a change.

John C. said...

I think it's a lock that JZim gets 6/$150 next year ... if he puts up another season comparable to last season. So, if you assume no injuries and no slippage in performance, he gets it. Those aren't gimmes, they are gambles.

While I do think Lester affects JZim’s market, I don’t think it sets the floor for JZim. This is because Lester has been better, longer than JZim. Yes, better. Although you can run comparative stats like ERA and WHIP where JZim looks as good or better, they lack context. Remember that Lester doesn’t just pitch in the AL, he pitches in the AL East, having had to regularly face some of the more powerful lineups in the game in some seriously hitting-friendly ballparks. Yes, the NL East features Citizens Bank Smallpark. But it also features a neutral park in Nats park and pitcher friendly parks in New York and Miami. Lester gets to regularly pitch against the DH in Yankee Stadium, OPACY and the Rogers Center in Toronto, and at home as a LHP at Fenway with the Monster looming over his shoulder. When measured by fWAR, Lester was better last year (6.1 to 5.2), better over the last four years (17.1 to 15.4) and for his career (35.4 to 17.0) than JZim. Lester is also left handed, isn’t on his second UCL, and has an extensive and successful postseason resume, including pitching in a World Series. Lester also did not cost the Cubs a #1 draft pick, and Jordan Zimmermann still has the risk of injury or poor performance in his final season before free agency. Yeah, Lester has two fourth place CY finishes in nine years. Zimmermann has one fifth place finish.

This is no knock on Jordan Zimmermann, it’s an impressive run of achievement for Lester. Zim’s one big advantage over Lester is that he is 28 months younger (16 months younger at the point of free agency).

So no, it’s not going to be cheap to sign JZim – it’s likely to take six seasons and an AAV in the $22-24M range. But it shouldn’t require Lester money.

Harper said...

Jay - In my mind a 6/150 extension IS a discount.

JW - (1) not every post. should be one next time. (2) Agree (3) I'm still ambivalent but like what I'm hearing this offseason (moving pos on werth/bryce, moving bryce in lineup, espy no lefty)

John C - Gambles, yes, but not terrible ones. 80% 75% chance?

As for the Lester comparison
pitches in harder div? No doubt, not quite the powerhouses in bandboxes you make it out to be but certainly a point in his favor.

DH - ERA+ does factor in league ZNNs been step better past 4 years (I usually do 3 but that'd be a little unfair to Lester given his out of line 2011)

fWAR - fWARis (and all WAR) is playing time influenced. ZNN has been pitching 10% fewer inning that Lester has about 10% lower combined fWAR. Career far less important than past few years.

LH - yep. Slight advantage, though depends on the team/park most. More of a tie-breaker.

isn't on his 2nd UCL - yep. But ZNN doesn't have a strangely worrisome flat out terrible year with no explanation in his recent past. I'll take the guy with the 2nd UCL.

post-season resume - no argument, though not a minus for ZNN and I do think Lester's inability to win WC game last year dings him.

no #1 draft pick - I think we're coming back around to normalcy on this. Draft picks are not as impt as good players especially if you don't have a Top5 pick.

CY - How many Gibby's does ZNN have? Any GM worth his salt shouldn't care about awards.

The one big advantage is actually a HUGE advantage for me. Under same deal swapping ZNN's age 30 season for Lester's age 36. HUGE.

I stand by what I said. ZNN > Lester should get more money.

Dr Trea (formerly #werthquake) said...

Boy just got much harder to keep Zim. I like the 3/4 year huge advantage idea but don't see it happening. Gonna almost have to trade him in a realistic world. Could let him walk if the best offer is weak

Dr Trea (formerly #werthquake) said...

*huge aav idea

Sirc said...

At this point the "home team discount" would be ZNN's agents allowing the Nats to keep the current 2015 contract of 16.5 in place, and then adding on market level dollars after that.

They can insist that any extension talks include a larger base for 2015.

I was firmly entrenched in the "keep ZNN for 2015 no matter what" camp prior to this week. Now I believe that the Nats and ZNN have a number, and if the Nats have absolutely no intention of ever offering 6/155(ish), I think that they should trade him and start working on Stras at the same salary.

JWLumley said...

@Harper....Wait, what? Swapping Harper and Werth, Espy not hitting righty, Captain Obvious moving Harper up in the LOLineup? I haven't seen any of this, of course I've avoided MW's comments at my Dr.'s suggestions (High Blood Pressure). Can you fill me in and or link to relevant info?

John C. said...

Oh, I don't disagree about the value of awards. But one criticism that I've seen of Lester is that he has only one 4th place CY finish in nine seasons, which seems to me to be irrelevant, and not something that sets Zim apart anyway.

The fact that Zimmerman is still under team control for one more year at $16.5M, and therefore the risk of an off season or an injury is all on him, is significant. Not enough to keep Zim from getting paid a whole pile of money, but it can't be dismissed either. Understand what I'm positing as an offer. 6/$144 is an AAV of $24M. But because the first season is already on the books for $16.5M, it's essentially 5 years/$127.5M - an AAV of $25.5M. That's a grand total of $300,000 less than Lester's AAV, with all the risk of injury on the Nats.

If Zim's camp wants much more than that, you ride him hard through 2015 and wave goodbye. Or, if the Red Sox are dumb enough to offer Betts or Bogearts for Zimmerman & Clippard, you trade him.

Mark twain said...

If I'm the nats I offer ZNN the same Lester got. If he turns it down I call Boston and Chicago to talk trade.

I want to pay ZNN but I dont see the nats giving him more than Lester got.( if you are wondering both teams in Chicago)

Slim shady said...

Why is there so much talk about Sherzer going to the Nats? I don't see it. I don't see the Lerners being ok with it. I don't see Rizzo going there either. Am I missing something?

The big thing people are leaving out is the fact that Lester is looked at as a big game pitcher. He has been a big part of two World Series wins for Boston. Zimnn may end up there this year or next, but he is not there. He was one out away this last year and got bombed by the Cards 2 years prior. He's not even the consensus best pitcher on the staff. I'll admit it's debatable, but it's still not a definite that he is the best. If the Nats signed Sherzer or Lester tomorrow there is no debate who gets the ball game one of the division series. No debate at all.

JWLumley said...

@Slim Shady First, there is always debate. Second, you may be right about front office perceptions, but from fan and analyst perspective they know how good NN is. Many, even said he should start Game 1. Including me.

Harper said...

C&S - Nats will have to go 6 beyond this year - that's only way I see it...

Sirc - that's what I was thinking (that they'd renegotiate 2015 but yeah a simple 6/150 could be tacked on as a gesture of good will - Yes I understand what I'm saying)

Do you trade him if you don't feel confident about a Fister deal?

JW - here's Bryce stuff. Espy thing might just be in a tweet.

John C - You're 6/144 is not insulting so I see what you're saying in that it doesn't have to be Lester $. I still believe though that ZNN's camp will want 6 years beyond. Something more like 7/168.

Red Sox deal? Maybe - I would say though why deal - why not wait?

MT - same Q as John - why deal if you are BOS/CHC not ticking such that 2015 is a HAVE TO year.

Slim Shady - personally I think it's just talk. Doesn't make much sense to me.

Lester is a big game pitcher? A's might disagree. Not to be flippant but that game tells you a lot about what "big game pitchers" usually really are - good pitchers pitching good in just a few starts, give him 100 postseason starts and it'll likely average out.

JW/SS - I agree with JW - always debate, who's to say Stras wouldn't get G1 duties if he put up a sub 2.50 ERA year while Scherzer or Lester were over 3.00? That could easily happen.

It's less about ZNNs talent more about the Nats having a ton of good pitchers.

Anonymous said...

What are they chances that they restructure some of Werth's contract to lesson the pain and make room for a deal that Zimm and Desi would go for?

Zimmerman11 said...

All She Wants For Christmas

X(Mas)-Factor: X(mas)-Songs and X(mas)-Decor up the wazoo! A business based on X-mas, is failing due to a world bereft of Christmas spirit. What is a girl to do?

Kids acting: NONE!

Watchability: Soundtrack was historically bad. But the chemistry between Noel and James really lights that yule log!

No one very famous (I checked IMDB and everything). But that Steve Bacic guy is Canadian, so there's that!

A young accountant tries to save a toy factory where she works from being closed down, while also pursuing a romance with the mysterious new factory worker who comes to her small town.

Its another small town values vs city slickers lust for money, but I was really rooting for those two lovebirds!

I give it four fully stuffed stockings!

Zimmerman11 said...

My whole life I've called a suitcase my home. Santa never had time to catch up.


Harper said...

Anon - 0%. Player's union wouldn't be for it - also I think team would rather get it over and done with

Z11 - Didn't Bacic give up the Bonds HR?

Jackson P. said...

6/150 sounds like #1 starter money. I just don't see the Nats paying two guys #1 starter money in a couple of years. So the questions is...who do they want long-term as their #1 starter. It looks to me like they've chosen Strasburg (who my dog is named after). If it were me, I'd choose NN as my long-term #1. He's a rock.

Harper said...

What if you have two #1 starters? I agree I think they'll go with Stras (has the better stuff and is younger) but if that's the case now is the time to sign him long-term.