In a piece that’s certainly worth a full read, James Wagner and Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post detailed how right-hander Stephen Strasburg’s mega-extension with the Nationals came to fruition. It helped the Nats’ cause that owner Ted Lerner has both an affinity for Strasburg and his agent, Scott Boras. “They have an incredible relationship,” said Ted Lerner’s son, Mark Lerner, regarding his father’s closeness with Boras. “Scott really respects my dad and what he’s built over the years from nothing.” Prior to inking Strasburg to a seven-year, $175MM deal, Lerner was using the free agent contracts awarded during the offseason to Jordan Zimmermann (five years, $110MM) and Johnny Cueto (six years, $130MM) as comparables. Boras countered with the bigger deals given in recent years to Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and the Nats’ Max Scherzer, and sold Lerner on Strasburg’s similarly elite potential. Ultimately, the two settled on an accord resembling the ones inked by Justin Verlander and Felix Hernandez in past years. Strasburg gave Boras the thumbs up on the seven-year agreement in late April – two weeks and two starts before it was announced – and it was kept under wraps as language was drawn up and Strasburg underwent an in-depth medical exam. Strasburg found out the deal was done when a fan congratulated him after his start Monday. “The light bulb went off,” he said.
Here’s more from around baseball:
- Blue Jays first baseman/designated hitter Chris Colabello and Phillies reliever Daniel Stumpf both received 80-game suspensions in April after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, and the two remain confused as to how PEDs entered their respective systems, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Colabello’s agent, Brian Charles, organized a conference call earlier this week with doctors, scientists and molecular biologists, all of whom are experts on steroid testing, as he tries to get to the bottom of his client’s positive test. Colabello, Stumpf and ex-UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir also partook in the call. All three tested positive for the banned anabolic steroid Turinabol, and each is without an answer as to how. The players association finds the cases of Colabello and Stumpf “puzzling,” sources tell Rosenthal. “The part that scares me the most is that I don’t know what to change for this not to happen again,” stated Stumpf, who said he only takes fish oil and doctor-prescribed medication. “It’s killing me,” added Colabello. “Everything I do in my life is thought out with careful attention and detail. I don’t do irresponsible things because I never want to make a mistake that could cost me my career.”
- Speaking of confusion, Mets right-hander Matt Harvey is perplexed by his early season struggles, per David Waldstein of the New York Times. “There’s a lot of unknowns,” he said. Harvey insists he’s physically fine and doesn’t believe his problems are related to his release point, with which he and pitching coach Dan Warthen have been tinkering. After allowing five runs on 11 hits in 5 2/3 innings Friday in Colorado, Harvey saw his ERA rise to 4.93 – more than two runs worse than his career mark of 2.76. His strikeout and walk rates have also trended downward this year, as has his velocity. It’s worth noting, though, that after striking out a meager 14 batters and walking eight during his first four starts (22 1/3 innings), Harvey has fanned 27 against just five free passes in the four outings since (23 1/3 frames).
- Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis of MLB.com have published their latest mock draft, which is free to all. Within it, the MLB.com duo projects Mercer outfielder Kyle Lewis (who was recently interviewed by MLBTR’s Chuck Wasserstrom) to go first overall to the Phillies. Florida lefty A.J. Puk, who has been projected to go 1-1 by some draft gurus, goes to the Reds at No. 2 in Callis and Mayo’s latest attempt to peg the first round, and they have prep lefty Jason Groome (an oft-speculated 1-1 candidate himself) going to the Braves to round out the top three.