As the Monday deadline to sign Stephen Strasburg approaches we learn
that the Nationals have offered the 21-year-old right-hander the
largest contract ever for a player taken in the amateur draft. Not
surprisingly, according to Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post,
the deal is worth more than the $10.5 million Mark Prior got from the
Cubs in 2001. In the end, Boswell estimates the contract may be worth
somewhere in the vicinity of $14-16 million.
While Strasburg has been hyped by many to be the best pitching prospect
of the modern era, agent Scott Boras has an interesting take on
negotiations for the pitcher’s services:
Boras has indicated that, for
analysis of comparable values, the proper analogy may be to the prices
paid for top international players, specifically pitcher Daisuke
Matsusaka of the Red Sox who received $50 million three years ago.
In other words, he’s not gonna come cheap. A deal must be completed by midnight on Monday or Strasburg will
re-enter the draft with the Nationals being given the No. 2 pick in 2010 as
compensation. You know, if Nationals Park is still standing by then,
what with all the pitchforks and what not.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.
Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.
Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.
According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.
Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.