Brewers committed to Jimmy Nelson, so scratch Jordan Zimmermann
Since I previously made the case here for the Milwaukee Brewers to trade for Jordan Zimmermann, I should share with you something Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said on the subject Monday.
Specifically, that trade almost certainly isn’t going to happen.
For the Brewers to acquire Zimmermann from the Nationals, they’d probably have to (a) include right-hander Jimmy Nelson in the deal or (b) send Nelson to the minors to start the season. Neither is in the Brewers’ plans.
As Melvin told me: "Jimmy Nelson is in the rotation."
So, it appears the Brewers will enter the 2015 season with Kyle Lohse, Matt Garza, Wily Peralta, Mike Fiers and Nelson.
No Zimmermann. No James Shields, either.
While the Brewers most assuredly do have the long-term payroll flexibility to afford an ace pitcher — with Yovani Gallardo gone to Texas and Lohse a free agent after this year — I understand Melvin’s point. The Brewers have control of Nelson for the next six years, and, at age 25, it’s time to see what he can do.
Nelson, a second-round pick from the University of Alabama in 2010, has moved gradually through the Milwaukee farm system and thrown just under 80 innings in the big leagues. By comparison, Rick Porcello — who’s only about five months older than Nelson — has thrown more than 1,000 major-league innings.
Melvin compared moving Gallardo (to open a spot for Nelson) with the Brewers’ trade last winter of Nori Aoki to Kansas City for left-hander Will Smith. That transaction opened up playing time for Khris Davis in the Milwaukee outfield, and Davis responded with a 22-homer season.
The Brewers hope Nelson is ready to make a similar impact on the starting rotation, because it doesn’t look like they’ll be getting help from Zimmermann or Shields in 2015.