Ryan Zimmerman has had a hell of a time throwing the ball lately. Nats Insider Mark Zuckerman writes about it. Zimmerman thinks it’s a mental issue. His teammates, while downplaying it, think it’s a confidence issue. Here’s Ian Desmond:
“In a sense, it’s a confidence thing. He’s never come to me before about how to hit a homer, or how to drive in a runner from second, or how to make a diving play. So I would imagine his confidence is a little down if he’s coming to me. I have some things that I see, but I think he’s to the point now where it’s right there. He’s gotten 100 times better.”
Zuckerman gives the obligatory name checks to Steve Sax, Chuck Knoblauch, Mackey Sasser, but correctly notes that, mental or not, this doesn’t look at all like what those guys went through. He’s not airmailing things. He’s just throwing wide or missing.
Given that it’s not classic yips, Zimmerman’s protestations aside, you have to wonder if it isn’t physical. He had shoulder problems and, as Zuckerman noted last winter, Zimmerman has changed his throwing motion.
The Padres announced on Sunday that the club signed pitcher Jordan Lyles to a one-year major league contract with a club option for 2019. According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, Lyles will earn $750,000 in 2018. Pitcher Travis Wood was designated for assignment to create room on the 40-man roster for Lyles.
Lyles, 27, had miserable results between the Rockies and Padres last season, compiling an aggregate 7.75 ERA with a 55/22 K/BB ratio over 69 2/3 innings. While he specifically gave up 24 earned runs in 23 innings across five starts with the Padres, it was a small sample. A full season at the pitcher-friendly Petco Park, as opposed to Colorado’s Coors Field, might help revitalize his career.
Wood, 30, went to the Padres at the non-waiver trade deadline from the Royals this past season. Overall, the lefty posted an aggregate 6.80 ERA with a 65/45 K/BB ratio in 94 innings. He’ll earn $6.5 million this season and has an $8 million mutual option with a $1 million buyout for 2019. So, the Padres are just eating $7.5 million minus the league minimum, assuming Wood latches on elsewhere.