The Red Sox ace minus option

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Sep 30, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann (27) delivers a pitch to an Atlanta Braves batter in the first inning of their game at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Zimmermann: 13-10, 201.2 IP, 204 H, 82 R, 164 K, 39 BB, 3.66 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 3.75 FIP, 3.82 xFIP, 3.0 WAR

Zimmermann was supposed to be hot property after 2015. Coming off two All-Star seasons and leading the National League in wins for 2013, Zimmermann had the credentials to cash in with a substantial paycheck. But 2015 was a step back with the sourest numbers being hits exceeding innings pitched and a career high in 24 home runs allowed.

The real plus with Zimmermann is he will not frustrate anyone with a stream of walks. In 2014 Zimmerman posted the lowest BB/9 in the National League at 1.3. You examine the deeper metrics and nothing really pops out that shows significant degrading. The velocity is down, but not significantly. Contact and swing percentages for the last four seasons align as do pitch selection. But batting average has jumped from .235 in 2013 to .260 in 2015.

The 29-year-old (30 in May) right-hander managed to surrender more hits than innings pitched for the first time in his career. Is that a trend? Should that be a buyer beware? The American League East litmus test is rather small with 9.1 innings at Fenway resulting in 9.64 ERA. In Baltimore 24.1 innings produced 15 earned runs. Take that into consideration.

Another positive about Zimmermann is the no prospect cost since he is a free agent. Likewise tossing a five-year deal in the 100 million range may be risky if 2015 was a harbinger of things to come.