Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle sat down with Athletics pitcher Mike Fiers, and the man who dropped the dime on the Astros’ sign-stealing revealed something that, while not surprising, is pretty damn disappointing: he has received “a lot of death threats” since the story about it all appeared in The Athletic last November.
He’s taking it in stride, he says, and is not really worried about himself as much as he is about his family. For what it’s worth, Rob Manfred said the other day that Major League Baseball “will take every possible step to protect Mike Fiers wherever he’s playing.”
Fiers went on to say that he’s not worried about retaliation from the Astros when he faces the A’s division rival this year. Given that it’s the American League he won’t have to bat against them, so maybe that’s academic, but there will no doubt be taunts or head games or whatever. Either way, Fiers says “If I’m worried about any retaliation, I’m not going to be ready for the season.” I’m sure it’s a calculus he made before agreeing to go on the record with what he knew.
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.