Stephen Strasburg’s debut yesterday was pretty electrifying. Supreme heat — his first pitch was 99 m.p.h. — and a good breaking ball clearly overmatched opposing hitters. As Keith Law notes, his changeup needs some work, but otherwise he’s a guy who looks like he won’t be spending a ton of time down on the farm.
But how much time will he spend on the mound in Washington this year? Peter Gammons reports via Twitter that Boras negotiated a 100-innings cap for him Strasburg this season. The team disputes this, saying that he could pitch 150-160 innings.
I’m inclined to doubt the Gammons report. Not because I don’t trust Gammons, but because Boras has a history of ineffectual beefing about the way his clients are used by teams in a way that suggests that he doesn’t have any leverage when it comes to that stuff. He’s SuperAgent and everything, but I just can’t picture any organization letting him dictate competitive decisions like that.
Figure on Strasburg being up in June and pitching those 150 innings or so.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes will opt out of his contract shortly after the World Series concludes. Cespedes, who earned $17.5 million for the 2016 season, has two years and $47.5 million remaining on his deal which includes an opt-out clause.
That Cespedes plans to opt out isn’t surprising as he’s almost certain to get a better contract entering a weak free agent market. He hit a terrific .280/.354/.530 with 31 home runs and 86 RBI in 543 plate appearances for the Mets this past season.
It remains to be seen how the Mets will deal with potentially losing Cespedes. They can pick up a $13 million club option for Jay Bruce, but he performed terribly after joining the Mets in a trade from the Reds. The Mets could also go after free agents Jose Bautista or Mark Trumbo. Curtis Granderson and Michael Conforto will handle the other two outfield positions.
Major League Baseball announced on Wednesday that former Red Sox DH David Ortiz and Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant won the 2016 Hank Aaron Award in their respective leagues.
Ortiz, 40, flourished in his final season, batting .315/.401/.620 with 38 home runs and 127 RBI in 626 plate appearances during the regular season. His .620 slugging percentage, 1.021 OPS, and 48 doubles led the majors while his 127 RBI led the American League. Ortiz also won the Hank Aaron Award back in 2005.
Bryant, 24, is the likely winner of the National League Most Valuable Player Award as well. He hit .292/.385/.554 with 39 home runs and 102 RBI over 699 plate appearances. He also led the league by scoring 121 runs. Bryant is the first Cub to win the Hank Aaron Award since Aramis Ramirez in 2008.
Last year’s winners in the AL and NL, respectively, were Josh Donaldson and Bryce Harper.