If and when Detroit Tigers baseball returns for the 2020 season, it is time for Jordan Zimmermann to be relegated to the bullpen.
The Detroit Tigers season may be a lost cause as it is, but if play does ramp up in 2020, some changes to the rotation need to be made. Jordan Zimmermann is in his contract year, becoming a free agent after the 2020 season after his monstrous contract ends.
Zimmermann’s contract might be one of the worst decisions made by the General Manager (GM), Al Avila, since taking over the organization. Since signing with the Tigers, he has regressed to one of the worst starting pitchers in the American League (AL).
At this point in his career, Zimmermann needs to be moved to the bullpen to be a long relief arm who helps when the team is being blown out or is a bridge arm. It is evident that Zimmermann’s time as an impact rotation arm is over, so he needs to embrace this new role.
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In his contract year, maybe it is a waste to move a career-long starter to the bullpen, but there is no need to waste a starting spot on him.
After his 2019 performance, just about anyone would be better than the showing Zimmermann produced.
In 2019, Zimmermann would pitch in twenty-three games, totaling 112 innings pitched. Zimmermann would produce a 6.91 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP on the season.
The Tigers should realize that a shortened 2020 season is going to require an expanded and interesting pitching staff. The old school way of pitching throwing each starter until their arm falls off after 120 pitches.
The rebuilding Tigers will not benefit from this, adopting a strategy similar to the Rays will be beneficial to guys trying to showcase their abilities in the big leagues. What this means is more three, four, or five-inning starts from pitchers with extended relief outings.
This is where Zimmermann comes in, make him a three-inning starter and then turn it over to someone like Rony Garcia or call up a youngster. Let someone like Beau Burrows or Anthony Castro get some starts in, even if they are on a tight pitch count.
This would allow them to throw these youngsters and then throw Zimmermann for three to five innings out of the bullpen. Hopefully, having him come out of the bullpen would allow for a more favorable result than his recent starting pitching statistics.
The Detroit Tigers should realize that the final season on Zimmermann’s contract, sending him out to the mound to lose repeatedly, is not worth it, using him as a middle reliever is the best move.