Jordan Zimmermann set to make Tommy John history in free agency
Free-agent starter Jordan Zimmermann is expected to sign for a guarantee of $100 million or more, according to a number of team executives and player agents surveyed this week.
And if that happens, Zimmermann will make history — as the first pitcher to sign a nine-figure contract after undergoing Tommy John surgery (Zimmermann had the procedure in August 2009).
In fact, only eight starting pitchers have signed deals worth at least $30 million following the surgery. That group includes John Smoltz, the only Tommy John recipient in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Here’s the full list, according to Jeff Euston of Baseball Prospectus:
Adam Wainwright: February 2011 surgery; five-year, $97.5 million contract with Cardinals in March 2013.
A.J. Burnett: April 2003 surgery; five-year, $55 million contract with Blue Jays in December 2005 (from which he opted out), and five-year, $82.5 million contract with Yankees in December 2008.
Anibal Sanchez: June 2003 surgery; five-year, $80 million contract with Tigers in December 2012.
C.J. Wilson: August 2003 surgery; five-year, $77.5 million contract with Angels in December 2011.
Darren Dreifort: March 1995 surgery; five-year, $55 million contract with Dodgers in December 2000.
Ryan Dempster: August 2003 surgery; four-year, $52 million contract with Cubs in November 2008.
Francisco Liriano: November 2006 surgery; three-year, $39 million contract with Pirates in December 2014.
John Smoltz: March 2000 surgery; three-year, $30 million contract with Braves in December 2001.