The first day the MLB’s Winter Meetings included one of the top free agents coming off the market as Stephen Strasburg cashed in on his playoff performance (and his opt out clause).
Signing a record seven-year, $245 million deal to return to the Washington Nationals, Strasburg’s deal probably bumps up those estimates for Gerrit Cole’s eventual record-setting deal now. Here’s a little bit of detail on Strasburg’s contract:
As for Cole, rumors are predictably all over the place though it seems clear it is the Yankees leading the way with the Dodgers and Angels somewhere behind that. With Strasburg already off the market, there’s probably not much holding back Cole from signing once he gets the number he wants from someone:
Earlier in the day before Strasburg signed, these were thrown out into the world:
While the Yankees’ offer was apparently seven years, $245 million as of yesterday, that won’t be happening anymore. Many of us market experts on Twitter seem to agree that Cole is destined for a $300 million deal now.
Looking past the top of the starting pitching market, our longtime favorite Madison Bumgarner is reportedly seeking at least $100 million. That might seem insane, but the teams that miss out on Wheeler/Strasburg/Cole are going to need to sign someone. Wheeler did get $118 million while only a year younger than Bumgarner and holding comparable numbers after all.
With all of that said, where does it leave Hyun-Jin Ryu?
The Dodgers could do much worse than bringing Ryu back, even if that inevitably means they missed out on Cole and Strasburg. (I’m sure everyone is going to love hearing that). Especially if those are the other interested teams right now.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan mentioned here that Blake Treinen, Dellin Betances and old friend Josh Lindblom as players he expected to sign during the meetings. There’s some other pretty good info in there and it is worth glancing through.
Looking back to the position player market, Strasburg’s signing immediately turned my thinking to what Nats’ owner Mark Lerner said last week to NBC Sports Washington.
“We really can only afford to have one of those two guys,” Lerner told Donald Dell in an exclusive interview. “They’re huge numbers. We already have a really large payroll to begin with.”
So, soon after the Strasburg news came this:
Obviously the Nationals should be able to sign both if they really have a desire to, but if not then Anthony Rendon will soon have a new home. And for all the teams that fail to sign Rendon, they will turn their attention to Josh Donaldson.
The potential for a four-year deal to Donaldson, especially as a fallback to Rendon, is likely to upset some Dodger fans. The other name in the third-base market is Kris Bryant, who appears to be drawing interest from Atlanta and Philadelphia.
Heyman also mentioned that an arbitrator still needs to decide when Bryant will become a free agent after he filed a grievance, alleging the Cubs manipulated his potential free agency in 2015. Rendon to the Dodgers, Donaldson to the Rangers and the Braves and Phillies fighting to trade for Bryant seems fine.
There was also an in-house rumor for the Dodgers.
You know, A.J. Pollock wouldn’t have to be available in a trade if you just never signed him in the first place.
As for players the Dodgers don’t want to trade, there’s rumors about them too.
I did laugh at Heyman’s phrasing of “generously volunteered/offered” since that is the second time he has done that this offseason.