When news surfaced that Yovani Gallardo was being traded to the Rangers, many speculated that this move would set the stage for the Brewers to make a run at free agent right-hander James Shields. However, it sounds like they have other plans.
According to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said this afternoon that he doesn’t see the club pursuing Shields. For what it’s worth, he also said that he hasn’t heard that Jordan Zimmermann is available via trade from the Nationals.
Assuming Melvin stays true to his word and stands pat with his rotation, the Gallardo trade paves the way for Jimmy Nelson to get an extended opportunity. It’s not as exciting as Shields or Zimmermann, but it’s not such a terrible thing. The 25-year-old right-hander posted a 4.93 ERA with a 57/19 K/BB ratio in 69 1/3 innings across 12 starts and two relief appearances last season. Shedding some of Gallardo’s salary (they’ll ultimately save $10 million) could also enable the Brewers to bring back Francisco Rodriguez or sign Rafael Soriano.
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.