As expected, Jordan Zimmermann passes on qualifying offer

To no one’s surprise, Jordan Zimmermann this afternoon passed on the $15.8 million qualifying offer extended by the Nationals. The right-hander now becomes one of the most sought-after starting pitchers in free agency. The Cubs, Giants, Red Sox and Cardinals are just a few of the teams rumored to have interest in Zimmermann join their rotation.

The Nationals drafted Zimmermann in the second round in 2007 out of the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point. He made his major league debut with a win over the Braves in 2009. It was the first of 16 starts for Zimmermann before Tommy John surgery ended his rookie season.

Jordan-Zimmermann-no-hitter-arms-out.jpgZimmermann eventually became the bulldog of the Nationals rotation, starting at least 32 games in each of his last four seasons. He was an All-Star in 2013 and 2014, and provided a lasting memory when he capped off last year with a no-hitter.

Zimmermann went 70-50 with a 3.32 ERA in 178 starts with the Nationals.

“The same level of commitment and passion that you fans showed me every game I took the ball is what I placed in every pitch I tossed wearing a Nationals uniform,” Zimmermann wrote in a message following the season. “My only regret is that we were not able to bring a championship to the fans of this great city this season.

“Although I may no longer wear the curly W on my head or on my chest, Nationals fans will always be in my heart. Thank you again for everything!”

Longtime teammate Ian Desmond also rejected the Nationals’ qualifying offer earlier this afternoon, making the shortstop a free agent.

The Nationals will receive a 2016 draft pick, likely a first-rounder, as compensation from each of the teams that sign Zimmermann and Desmond.

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