Getty Images

Cardinals officially decline Matt Holliday’s option


As previously rumored, the Cardinals have officially declined outfielder Matt Holliday‘s option for 2017, according to a report by Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. The club announced their intention to decline the veteran’s $17 million salary back in September, and while GM John Mozeliak wouldn’t confirm a permanent split, Holliday’s return to the team under a new contract seems unlikely.

It was an off year for the 36-year-old left fielder, who saw a career-worst batting line of .246/.322/.461 in 426 plate appearances and was sidelined through the second half after taking a pitch off of his right thumb. Although he didn’t perform at the All-Star level the Cardinals saw in 2015, he hit a few milestones before landing on the disabled list, including his 1,000th franchise hit and 500th at Busch Stadium. His 20 home runs made 2016 the 12th major league season in which he produced double-digit homers.

Holliday will become a free agent for the first time since he signed his seven-year, $120 million deal with the Cardinals in 2010. While he may not have the defensive profile the Cardinals are searching for, his bat could still land him a spot as a DH before 2017 rolls around.

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

Zack Wheeler miss starts
Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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.