7:10pm: Roch Kubatko at MASN Sports has a source close to the negotiations that says the Nationals' offer is worth $17MM, "with easily attainable incentives that could push it beyond $20MM." There is apparently worry about Strasburg's powerful makeup wearing his arm down, but the Nats "still think he's worth it."
The Nationals front office has reportedly also indicated to Strasburg there's a possibility they choose him again in next year's draft, with his consent.
1:31pm: Harlan now cites an anonymous source, saying that the record-breaking offer the Nationals have offered Strasburg will have to increase, if the fireballer is to sign with Washington.
Harlan's source says the offer has been on the table since last week, and no deal has been agreed upon yet. That, says the source, "should tell you enough."
Harlan writes that everyone involved in the negotiations expects them to go down to the final hours, if not the final minutes.
9:51am: With the deadline to sign at midnight tomorrow, the rumor mill's a-buzz with perspectives on Stephen Strasburg.
- Maury Brown says it could be about years, not dollars. He writes, "If the Nationals do sign Strasburg, if smart, would be looking to avoid dealing with salary arbitration or possibly the first or second year of free agency eligibility. Look at deals such as Evan Longoria’s, Robinson Cano, or Troy Tulowitzki for examples."
- Ken Davidoff, like most, has a "hunch" the deal will get done.
- The AP is reporting that Nats president Stan Kasten acknowledged yesterday a "very real possibility" that the two sides will not reach an agreement.
- Chico Harlan spoke with Ryan Zimmerman who chimed in: "When it comes down to it, Strasburg has to think about, ‘Can I go to bed if I turn down $15, 16 million dollars—whatever it is—to pass up the opportunity to play for these guys?’ That’s a lot of money. I don’t understand what he thinks will be better next year. If we don’t take him, who’s gonna take him next year? Pittsburgh? San Diego? San Diego is not gonna pay him more. Absolutely his leverage will never be higher."
- Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post might agree with Zimmerman. Boz asks, "What team will ever be more over a barrel, or have a richer owner, than the worst-in-baseball-again Nats and multi-billionaire owner Ted Lerner?" In the same piece, he adds, "Signing contracts, not blowing them up, is their job and their responsibility — the Nats to their franchise and their fans, Boras to his client. If they don't get a deal done, it's a mammoth failure of adult supervision."
- Rob Dibble suggests Strasburg will be as hated as his agent if he holds out.