Even when things are good, it’s hard to be a National. Pitcher Jordan Zimmermann will missing approximately 18 months with what looks, to the dismay of everyone, like a ligament tear in his elbow. The Nationals will seek a third opinion, but if that confirms the diagnosis, it’s likely he will have Tommy John Surgery, where they remove a ligament from somewhere else on your body (usually a foot, forearm or leg) and replace the torn ligament in your elbow.
It’s not a death sentence, but any stretch of the imagination, as more than 83 percent of athletes recover to their previous strength, but it’s still a huge blow for the Nationals to lose one of their best pitchers this early in his career.
The worst of this is the timing. Not just for the Nats in the middle of an 8-game winning stretch, but because there are just five days left before the deadline to sign Stephen Strasburg before the window closes for a year and it’s likely he heads to Japan. This could go either way: Either Boras has the Nats right where he wants them, and is able to get $50M, or the Nats say to Boras, “We just saw one of our best prospects tear a ligament randomly. You get $18M and you like it, or you take your chances with Japan.”
We’ll see how the Lerners play it in a few days.