Nats make record-setting offer to Strasburg

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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.

Dodgers activate Adrian Gonzalez

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The Dodgers have reinstated first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from the 60-day disabled list after his recovery from a herniated disc. To make room for him they have optioned Rob Segedin to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Gonzalez last played on June 11. Since then the Dodgers have gone an astounding 46-9, with shoe-in rookie of the year candidate Cody Bellinger handling first base duties and posting a .978 OPS. When Gonzalez went down he was hitting .255/.304/.339 and only one homer in 49 games.

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of playing time he gets going forward. The Dodgers, of course, have a comfortable lead in the NL West, so they could afford to allow Gonzalez to play a good bit to see if his bat sharpens up while simultaneously giving Bellinger, who has never played more than 137 games in a season, a bit of a breather. Beyond that, though, the Dodgers ain’t broke, so it’s hard to see why anyone would want to tinker with things.

Rays activate Kevin Kiermaier

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The Tampa Bay Rays have activated outfielder Kevin Kiermaier from the 60-day disabled list.

Kiermaier, who fractured his hip in early June, is batting leadoff and playing center field in tonight’s game against the Mariners. He was just 3-for-24 on his rehab assignment, but those aren’t usually predictive of anything. He was hitting .258/.329/.408 when he went down. Getting his bat — and, more importantly, his glove — back in the lineup will boost the struggling Rays in their quest for a playoff spot.