Nationals telling teams Jordan Zimmermann is “available”

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Reports of the Cubs trying to acquire Jordan Zimmermann from the Nationals last week were mostly shot down, but now Bob Nightingale of USA Today writes that Washington is indeed “informing teams that Zimmermann is available” in trade.

Zimmermann has just one season remaining until he’s eligible for free agency and the 28-year-old right-hander is in line for a massive payday, so shopping him makes some sense considering the Nationals still have Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Doug Fister, and Tanner Roark in the rotation.

Oh, and here’s a potential added wrinkle: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com wrote this morning that the Nationals are one of five teams he thinks will make a serious run at Max Scherzer. Would they trade Zimmermann and then spend huge money while also losing a draft pick to bring in a different ace?

Zack Wheeler will miss at least two starts when his wife gives birth

Zack Wheeler miss starts
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Per The Athletic’s Matt Gelb, Phillies starter Zack Wheeler will miss at least two starts when his wife goes into labor and gives birth to their first child, expected to be later this month. Wheeler, in fact, is not sure if he will return to play at all once their child is born.

Wheeler said, “We just have to see how things are here at the field and at the stadium. I’m happy with what I see so far. But things could change, especially once our baby’s born. I always think about what’s going on around me. Is it safe? Is it OK? Literally every single day. I have to just ask myself that. I’m going to continue to keep asking myself that every day.”

Wheeler, 30, inked a five-year, $118 million contract with the Phillies in December. He is slated for the No. 2 spot in the rotation behind Aaron Nola. Last season, with the Mets, Wheeler posted a 3.96 ERA with 195 strikeouts and 50 walks over 195 1/3 innings.

The No. 5 spot in the Phillies’ rotation is currently up for grabs between Nick Pivetta, Vince Velasquez, Ranger Suárez, and prospect Spencer Howard. One of the remaining three could fill in for Wheeler when he needs time off, temporarily or otherwise.