While there’s no denying that huge money drove Stephen Strasburg’s return to the Nationals, there were some other key elements that informed his decisionmaking this winter. As Britt Ghiroli of The Athletic reports (subscription link), Strasburg actually worked in family-related travel benefits into his negotiations and contract. Those changes will redound to the benefit of other players with the organization. Strasburg also negotiated for year-round access to Nationals Park and access to certain equipment for training.
The whole story provides a nice look at the shy but increasingly assertive Nats’ co-ace. More from D.C. …
- Strasburg has toiled quietly even under intense scrutiny. Max Scherzer isn’t exactly a trash-talker, but his mound-stalking and glowering certainly represent a challenge to opposing hitters. Both arms, and both personalities, have made the Nats’ pitching staff one of the best in the business for some time now. But for how long? Todd Dybas of NBC Sports Washington looks at the question whether Scherzer could end up inking a new deal with the club. The 35-year-old is presently two high-priced seasons away from a return to the open market. While it’s tough to imagine losing the rare pitcher that has outperformed a mammoth free agent deal, it’s also not an obvious situation for an extension. Scherzer says it’d be up to the team to “drive those conversations” if it wishes. On his side, he says he’s going to “stay in the moment” and not think too hard about the future.
- The Nats’ hopes for a repeat crown obviously rest on quite a few players. If there’s a clear wild card, it’s probably young infielder Carter Kieboom. MLB.com’s Jessica Camerato checks in on his progress at learning to handle the third base position. The top prospect is accustomed to the left side of the infield, having spent plenty of time at shortstop, but says it’s still an adjustment to move to the hot corner. He’s keeping a steady demeanor and focusing on the big picture, but it’s obvious he’s also receiving something of a trial by fire this spring. Both Kieboom and manager Dave Martinez expressed confidence … and emphasizing the need for loads of reps both in practice and at game speed. “We really believe that he could be our third baseman,” says Martinez.