Most people are high on the Nationals this season, but outfielder Bryce Harper might be the highest of all. Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com spoke with Harper on Wednesday …
The biggest money quote in a string of them came when Harper was asked for his reaction to the Nationals’ surprise signing of Max Scherzer, a $210 million addition to what already was lauded as baseball’s best rotation.
“To be able to have a guy like Scherzer come in? I just started laughing,” Harper said. “I was like, ‘Where’s my ring?’ You know what I mean? It’s stupid. It’s absolutely stupid how good our staff is.
He’s right — between Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Gio Gonzalez, and Doug Fister the starting rotation is indeed stupid-good — but that kind of confidence won’t sit well with everybody.
Washington has been considered something of a juggernaut three years running, yet the franchise has not captured a World Series championship in its 46-year existence (dating back to the Montreal Expos days).
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.