Marlins among several teams interested in Smoltz

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Ken Rosenthal of reported yesterday that the Brewers and Dodgers are interested in John Smoltz, and now Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun Sentinel writes that the Marlins are also in the mix for the 42-year-old right-hander. Rodriguez notes that Smoltz has a relationship with Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez from their time together in Atlanta and speculates that he may want to return to the NL East.
There’s really no need for teams to go after Smoltz until he’s released by the Red Sox later this week, but once that happens it’ll be interesting to see if anyone offers him a rotation spot. Every indication is that Smoltz would prefer to continue starting and Rodriguez speculates that the Marlins, for instance, could make him their fifth starter instead of Sean West or Rick VandenHurk. However, it sure seems like a move back to the bullpen would be best for everyone involved at this point.

Ryan Zimmerman’s spring training has been . . . weird

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Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman has played in exactly one Grapefruit league game this year, and that was way back on March 2. Since then he has been totally absent from the Nats’ big league spring games, playing instead on the back fields in sim games and in minor league contests.

While that’s not an unusual course of action for an injured or rehabbing player, both Zimmerman and the Nationals insist that there is nothing wrong with him. Per this report from MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, they’re saying that Zimmerman “simply prefers to get his work done in the more controlled environment of minor league games, where the rules are lax.” He doesn’t have to dive for balls, he can lead off every inning, etc. Manager Dave Martinez says Zimmerman simply doesn’t like the usual spring training grind and that this is working for him so he’s fine with it too.

Are you buyin’ that? Not sure I’m buyin’ that.

I suppose weirder things have happened. The Minnesota Twins once let Jack Morris go back to his farm in between starts rather than stay with the club. Other accommodations have been made for veterans, especially in spring training. But this is way more in keeping with a team hiding an injury. Though I have no idea why the Nats would choose to hide an injury to Zimmerman. They’ve talked at length about Daniel Murphy‘s knees and Adam Eaton‘s seemingly never-ending rehab. If Zimmerman has some aches and pains, you’d think they’d talk about it.

On the other hand, if this is a legit story and it is simply an accommodation for a veteran who doesn’t like the normal spring training grind, look for Zimmerman to be a trailblazer, because there are a LOT of dudes who hate spring training too and would love to change things up like this.