Jordan Zimmermann said last month that he won’t discuss a contract extension with the Nationals once the regular season begins. With Opening Day on the horizon, just nine days away, there hasn’t been any progress made on an extension.
Zimmermann himself said, “It’s not looking good,” as Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington reports. Zimmermann said, “I’m just not going to talk during the season. If something gets done before then — which is probably pretty rare right now — then it gets done.”
Zimmermann, 28, finished fifth in National League Cy Young balloting last season, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio in 199 2/3 innings. The right-hander seems likely to join a free agent class which has the potential to be stocked with elite arms. Teammate Doug Fister, Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Mike Leake, Rick Porcello, David Price, Jeff Samardzija, and Zack Greinke (if he opts out) will all become free agents after the season.
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.