Boston Red Sox trade target: Jordan Zimmermann


During the Winter Meetings last week, the Red Sox added some major depth to their once-depleted rotation. In a flurry of moves, Boston traded for Wade Miley and Rick Porcello, also signing Justin Masterson to a 1 year/$9.5M deal shortly after losing out on Jon Lester. Given the Red Sox’ powerful offense, they could probably field a competitive team with their current rotation, but to develop a legitimate contender, the Red Sox would be wise to explore their options for ace-caliber pitchers and Jordan Zimmermann would certainly mark one of those options.

On the surface, Zimmermann isn’t a very likely trade candidate. The Nationals are coming off a season in which they posted the best record in the National League, with Zimmermann serving as a key part of their elite starting rotation in a season where he went 14-5 with a 2.66 ERA, 8.2 K/9 and a league-leading 1.3 BB/9.

However, the 2015 season will also be Zimmermann’s contract year and, with potentially astronomical contracts to Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper on the horizon for Washington, the Nationals could attempt to trade Zimmermann and allocate their resources toward contract extensions for their other young stars.

Still, with the Nationals shaping up to be one of the best teams in baseball, they definitely won’t move Zimmermann for cheap. At 28 years old and coming off the best season of his successful career, Zimmermann will be one of the most expensive assets on the trade market.

It’s unlikely that the Red Sox would be able to acquire Zimmermann without including one of Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts, or Blake Swihart in the trade. And with Zimmermann likely to be a one-year rental only, that price would simply not be worth it, even considering the huge boost that Zimmermann would bring to this Boston rotation.

If the Red Sox are somehow able to swing a deal without including one of those “big three” young players, though, acquiring Zimmermann would absolutely be worth their while. He’s still young and has been one of the best pitchers in baseball over the past four seasons, but it’s still hard to justify trading a potential future star for one year of a pitcher, even as good as Zimmermann is.