A rumor floated around at The GM’s Meeting  Tuesday night that the Cubs and Nationals were engaged in trade discussions about starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann.

“One source said the teams have enough mutual interest that names have balready been mentioned. Another source is stating that the Cubs expect to make a trade for Zimmerman.

How might this effect the market for Cole Hammels.   If a deal for Zimmerman   is completed, it would change things drastically. Three teams that are all looking for pitching, are the Cubs, Red Sox and Dodgers.   Each team has a strong farm system. The Phils would love to see teams fighting for the services of Hammels.   If the Cubs are removed, so are there many prospects.

.Are  the Cubs being linked to Zimmermann when Hamels is being dangled in the marketplace? Hamels is, after all, the superior pitcher with more playoff seasoning.

Zimmerman’s price tag would be a lot less than Hammels.

However, based on recent free-agent starting pitcher contracts, Zimmermann will be in line for more than $100 million. The guess here is that Zimmermann eventually signs for more than what Homer Bailey got (six years, $105 million) but less than what the Phillies gave Cliff Lee (five years, $120 million).

Something in the five-year, $115 million range seems appropriate for Zimmermann, who has a 2.96 ERA over the last three seasons in 96 starts.

The Phillies are likely seeking Kris Bryant and more in a Hamels trade. The Cubs appear unwilling to trade Bryant, their top prospect who hit .325 with 43 homers at Double A and Triple A this past season, his first full one in pro ball. That’s just how negotiations begin.

Because Zimmermann would be a rental, he would cost the Cubs less in the way of prospects. Chicago may be looking at parting with shortstop Starlin Castro in a proposed Zimmermann deal, or one of their lesser-but-still-intriguing prospects in utilityman Arismendy Alcantara or outfielder Albert Almora.


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