Age catches up with each and every one of us, and this morning 34 year old Jordan Zimmermann announced that he is retiring from Major League Baseball after a career that spanned parts of 13 seasons at the game’s highest level. He had briefly retired after spending the first few weeks of the season at the Alternate Training Site for the Milwaukee Brewers — for about two hours, as the story goes — before a team besieged by injury called upon him on April 30th to join the big league roster and fill some innings out of the bullpen.
An Auburndale native and former Steven’s Point Pointer, Zimmermann’s career concludes in noteworthy fashion with the Brewers as he became just the 11th player born in the state to appear for Wisconsin’s MLB team. But his career will best be remember where it started — as a 2nd round draft pick by the Washington Nationals in 2007 and a seven-year run as one of the game’s most productive starting pitchers, beginning in 2009.
Zimmermann posted a 4.71 ERA across 23 starts during 2009-10, missing time with Tommy John surgery, then truly broke out in 2011 when he posted a 3.18 ERA across 161.1 innings in his age-25 season. He was an All-Star in 2013 and 2014 and finished in the top-10 of Cy Young Voting both seasons, winning 19 games in 2013 before posting a 2.66 ERA in 199.2 innings in 2014 and authoring the first no-hitter in Nationals’ history on the last day of the season in a 1-0 victory over the Marlins. Zimmermann also appeared in two postseasons with the Nationals, 2012 and 2014, and made an 8.2 inning start with one run allowed in the 2014 NLDS.
Zimmermann posted one more strong season in Washington in 2015 before his seven-year tenure ended and he moved on to Detroit. With the Nationals, he posted a 70-50 record with a 3.32 ERA across 178 starts and 1,094 innings pitched. That helped him land a five-year deal with the Tigers worth $110 million, but injuries hampered his career from then on forward and he was never able to post even a league-average ERA+ during his five seasons for the Motor City Nine.
Zimmermann inked a minors deal with the Brewers for 2021 and eventually made two appearances for the big league club, including 2.0 scoreless innings and a game finished against the Marlins on May 7th in what ended up being the final outing of his career. Zimmermann now rides off into the sunset with a career 4.07 ERA, 3.87 FIP, and 7.1 K/9 versus 1.9 BB/9 across 279 MLB appearances and 1,614 innings with the Nationals, Tigers, and Brewers. His career 21.03 bWAR ranks him 19th among players born in the Badger State, right between Joe Randa and George McBride.
With Zimmermann’s decision to hang up the cleats, spots are opened up on the 26-man active roster and the 40-man roster. That’s worth noting as Corbin Burnes is expected to return to action this week.
Congratulations to Jordan Zimmermann on an outstanding career and good luck in whatever comes next!