Ryan Zimmerman could miss rest of season

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Ryan Zimmerman was out of the starting lineup for the third straight day Saturday due to a strained rib muscle. According to what Nationals manager Jim Riggleman told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, it’s possible he may not play again this season.

“We’re just going to be really conservative about when we put him back
out there. We’re just really concerned that — what I don’t want to have
happen is that he plays in a game, swings and hurts it, and now it’s a
month into the offseason that he’s got to rehab the injury. That’s not
the way you want a player going into the offseason — before he’s got to
get on track with what he’s got to do to get on track for next year,
first he’s got to rehab an injury. If we can avoid that, we will.”

Zimmerman, who turns 26 in three days, is batting .307/.388/.510 with 25 homers, 85 RBI and an 899 OPS this season. He’s often overlooked because of the team he plays for, but with his superb defense at third base, Zimmerman currently ranks second in the majors among position players in WAR (Wins Above Replacement) this season, according to Fangraphs. Joey Votto, Albert Pujols, Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki are busy making the headlines, but Zimmerman is certainly worthy of some MVP consideration, as well. 

Johnny Cueto expected to opt-out of his deal after the season

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Johnny Cueto signed a six-year $130 million deal with the Giants prior to the 2016 season. In his first season he went 18-5 with a 2.79 ERA and 198 strikeouts in 219.2 innings, helping lead the Giants to the playoffs. This season has been rocky for Cueto — he’s got a a 4.42 ERA in 15 starts and has battled blisters — but they’ve been far rockier for the Giants overall, as they sit in last place in the NL West and have the second worst record in baseball.

Many suspect that the Giants will either rebuild or, at the very least, restructure some in response to this nightmare year. If so, they’re likely going to be doing it with Cueto, who Jon Heyman reports is going to opt-out of his deal:

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Johnny Cueto is planning to opt out of his contract at the end of the year, but he would listen to any extension offer . . . Cueto has $84 million to go over four years. It would probably take an injury or major slump for Cueto not to opt out. But it makes sense that he will.

Heyman says the Giants are not inclined to give him an extension, so expect to see Cueto on the free agent market three days after the World Series ends, which is the deadline for him to exercise his opt-out rights.

The Dodgers are concerned about Julio Urias’ shoulder

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Things are going great for the Dodgers lately. They’ve won seven consecutive games and 13 of their last 14. They lead the National League in wins and are in first place in, arguably, the best division in baseball.

But there are a lot of moving parts on a baseball team, and even when some things are going great, other things can go not-so-great. Like this:

Urias has been diagnosed with shoulder inflammation and shut down indefinitely. An MRI last week showed no structural damage, but his shoulder is still bothering him. He has not pitched in the bigs since late May, when he allowed seven runs in less than three innings against the Miami Marlins. He was sent down after that and went 3-0 with a 3.12 ERA, six walks and 17 strikeouts in 17.1 innings pitched in three starts with Oklahoma City before being shelved.