Depending on where you venture online for information surrounding the Dodgers and the hot stove, some media sources may be credible while others may not. If you’re confused about which sources are valid, usually the guys from the bigger, established outlets are genuine with their reports, while the lesser-known voices can sometimes be inaccurate.
When we report on this site, we almost always link where the information has originated. If it’s an opinion piece, we normally clarify before getting to deep into the story.
This is the time of the season where rumors are running rampant, so it may be a good idea to pick and choose the reports which you decide to believe—just the obligatory winter public service announcement from both Andy and myself.
Anyway, there were some whispers on Monday among all the contract news that the Dodgers have been in talks with righty pitcher Stephen Strasburg. Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports—whether you decide to believe him or not—confirmed those reports on Tuesday. Additionally, Nightengale stated that the Dodgers have been linked to Anthony Rendon (which we already knew), in addition to pitcher Kevin Gausman.
There are also rumors stating that the Dodgers may conceivably make a big splash in terms of a trade, should the opportunity present itself.
Regarding Strasburg, some pundits feel that he’s the likeliest to remain in Washington when being compared to Rendon. If Strasburg lands somewhere else, he’ll have draft pick compensation attached to him, although it shouldn’t be a huge factor considering Strasburg’s value. There are some feelings that the righty might prefer to land in SoCal being that he grew up in the San Diego area and attended college at San Diego State.
Strasburg and the Nationals avoided arbitration for three straight years from 2014-16, coming to an agreement on a seven-year, $175 million extension back in May 2016. According to multiple reports, the deal included $70 million in deferred salary, with $30 million of that deferred money already earned through 2019.
As stated by Spotrac, the 2019 World Series MVP was slated to earn $25 million in 2020, folloed by a mere $15 million for each of the 2021 and 2022 seasons. His contract would have ended in 2023 when he would have made a whopping $45 million for the year.
Tim Dierkes of MLBTR, who is well-known for his contract projections, predicts that Strasburg will land a six-year deal worth $180 million.
Says Dierkes, “His strikeout and walk rates continued to be excellent, and at a time when the juiced ball turned the entire league into 30-homer threats, Strasburg cut back on his 2018 home-run rate while logging the second-highest grounder rate of his career. His postseason heroics were the stuff of legend; in 36 1/3 innings, Strasburg pitched to a 1.98 ERA with a 47-to-4 K/BB ratio — including a gutsy 8 1/3-inning effort in a win-or-go-home Game 6 against the Astros in Houston. This is the Strasburg the Nats dreamed of when taking him first overall back in 2009. He’s now posted two six-plus WAR seasons in his past three years.”
At 31 years of age, a six-year deal for a pitcher whose fastball still lives in the mid-nineties is obviously a huge risk. However, Andrew Friedman and his crew are infamous for their creativity when it comes to structuring contracts like these. Indeed, a $30 million AAV sound like something to build around when it comes to making an offer.
With the Winter Meetings set to begin next week, it should be interesting to see if anything progresses with Strasburg in the near future, as least as far as his connections to the Dodgers go.