Amid continued rumors that pitcher Stephen Strasburg could be targeted by his hometown team, the San Diego Padres, in free agency, a new report suggests that the 2019 World Series MVP is likely to re-sign with the Washington Nationals in a few weeks’ time.
Appearing on Monday’s edition of High Heat with Christopher Russo on MLB Network, MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand said that he doesn’t expect a repeat of the last free agency season, where highly-regarded players such as Bryce Harper and Manny Machado remained unsigned until February. After speculating that pitcher Gerrit Cole and third baseman Anthony Rendon will likely be signed before Strasburg, Feinsand talked about his expectations for the 31-year-old right-hander, suggesting that he could potentially re-sign with the Nationals before this year’s Winter Meetings kick off in San Diego on December 8.
Although the Padres have often been mentioned as one of the top candidates to sign Strasburg since he opted out of the remaining four years and $100 million on his contract, MLB.com cited a more recent update from the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Kevin Acee, who reported that the organization might not have enough money to sign the former No. 1 overall draft pick.
The New York Yankees have also been mentioned in earlier reports as one of Strasburg’s leading suitors. Last week, general manager Brian Cashman announced that the team hopes to target either Strasburg or Cole in free agency, while also leaving the option open to make some “surprise” additions in the offseason.
Stephen Strasburg, 2019 Highlights. pic.twitter.com/7EO00US28X— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) November 12, 2019
Meanwhile, the Nationals appear interested in re-signing Strasburg despite his opt-out decision, as MLB Network insider Jon Heyman tweeted earlier this month that the team is “trying” to get him to return and sign a new contract. He added that Washington is also doing what it could to retain Rendon, while also considering the possibility of beefing up its starting rotation with a quality free-agent pitcher such as Madison Bumgarner or Zack Wheeler.
Talking about the ramifications of the Nationals possibly signing Strasburg before the Winter Meetings, NBC Sports Washington opined that the organization has the “payroll flexibility” to make an acceptable offer to their ace pitcher, given that Rendon and first baseman Ryan Zimmerman have also chosen to enter free agency. The outlet added that signing Strasburg “early” would allow the Nationals to tailor its approach accordingly as the offseason continues, giving them a chance to address their other weaknesses while most of the top free agents remain available.