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Jordan Zimmermann signs with not-Giants

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The Giants are down an option if they want to explore the upper end of the pitching market.

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Don't panic. There's no need to ... listen, put that down. Stop screaming. Let go of the cat. There's no reason to panic that the Giants aren't going to have a starting pitcher when the music stops. They know what they're doing. Probably.

But one of the best fits for the Giants is off the market. Jordan Zimmermann signed with the Tigers for five years and $110 million. Considering that people were talking about $75 to $90 million for Mike Leake before the offseason began, that seems like a relative bargain. When Dave Cameron predicted where all of the free agents were going, he had Zimmermann to the Giants at seven years, $140 million. The length of the deal made me sputter, but the fit was perfect. Now that we know the numbers, it makes me a little wistful.

Boy, how I would like Jordan Zimmermann and Ben Zobrist on the Giants instead of one David Price. Or two Mike Leakes. Oh, man, we're getting two Mike Leakes, aren't we?

This offseason is stressful.

If there's some good news to Zimmermann being gone and the Giants having one fewer option to improve the rotation, let's try to find it:

The silver linings of Jordan Zimmermann being off the market

1.
It looks like that second tier -- filled with Leakes and Chens and Gallardos, oh my -- might not be as expensive as previously believed. The three-year, $36 million contract to J.A. Happ might suggest something different, but Marco Estrada's willingness to take a two-year deal and Brett Anderson accepting the qualifying offer from the Dodgers hints that pitchers are a little spooked by the crowded market.

I know it's not hip to root for two Mike Leakes, but a rotation of competent pitchers is a worthwhile dream. And if a pair of reliable starters isn't as expensive as expected, maybe there's some extra money for an outfielder.

2.
Dude's not in the National League anymore. Man, did he kill the Giants.

3.
He's not on the Dodgers. See the above.

4.
The lack of Zimmermann-to-the-Giants rumors was paired with a strong David Price rumor from Ken Rosenthal. Is it possible that the Giants are ignoring any pitcher who isn't Price or Zack Greinke? Could be.

Except that freaks me the heck out. The Dodgers have money and they're not leaving the offseason without one of those pitchers. The Red Sox have money and they're probably not leaving without one of them. And that's before we get to the Cardinals, Cubs, and Yankees. Don't forget the mystery teams, either. Even if the Giants are prepared to offer one of those pitchers more money than they've ever offered another free agent, that doesn't mean the pitchers will accept.

Greinke-or-Price-or-bust seems like a great way to have a bust of an offseason. Wait, this was supposed to be a silver lining. So, uh, maybe they'll actually get one of those pitchers? That's the silver lining. It's okay to dream.

The downside to Jordan Zimmermann being off the market

1.
He's not on the Giants.

2.
No, that's pretty much it. That was a very reasonable deal for an underrated pitcher, and now it's one less path to the Giants having a successful offseason. Also, he reminds me of Matt Williams. I like Matt Williams!

Really, I'm easy with this stuff. Gimme one Kenta Maeda. One Zimmermann. One Price or Greinke. A trade for Shelby Miller? Sure, whatever. One fancy pitcher, and let the rest of the roster fall into place. Except there's one fewer fancy pitcher available. Which means there's a chance they don't get any of them. Which also means there's a chance they end up with a couple of second-tier sub-Hudsons.

I never did get around to writing my "Why Jordan Zimmermann is the best fit for the Giants" column, but I had the outline in my head. He kept the ball down, which was good for the Giants' spectacular defensive infield. He didn't beat himself with walks. He's been consistently excellent in the shadow of flashier teammates. And, apparently, he wasn't going to command full-Zito prices.

Oh, well. Did we cover the John Lackey rumors on the site while I was on vacation? Good, good, great, grand, okay. Let's just hunker down and wait for the next rumor tsunami, then.