Bill Baer

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 09:  Stephen Strasburg #37 of the Washington Nationals pitches in the sixth inning during a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers at Nationals Park on May 9, 2016 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

How Stephen Strasburg’s contract extension came together


James Wagner and Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post have a really interesting and in-depth look at the machinations behind the seven-year, $175 million contract Stephen Strasburg inked with the Nationals earlier this week. It features contributions from Barry Svrluga, Chelsea Janes (who was the first to report the news), and Thomas Boswell.

Historically, clients of agent Scott Boras haven’t signed contract extensions, instead choosing to test the market as free agents. Strasburg, however, told Boras during dinner in mid-February that he wanted to stay in Washington. Boras had increasingly more complex discussions with Nationals owner Ted Lerner and GM Mike Rizzo. Many rounds of golf were played, many dinners were had, and many pieces of art were admired while the two sides hammered out a deal.

Interestingly, Wagner and Kilgore note that the Nationals’ front office treated the Strasburg extension like an arbitration case. They compared him to other players, particularly Justin Verlander and Felix Hernandez, who signed seven-year deals for $180 million and $175 million, respectively. The Nationals were hesitant because of Strasburg’s 2010 Tommy John surgery and a 2013 procedure to remove a bone chip. Boras sold the Nationals on Strasburg’s potential, that he could one day be as great as Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer, and Zack Greinke.

The most fascinating part was how the negotiations were kept under wraps for so long. Only a handful of people outside of those directly involved had any idea an extension was being worked on, but they kept it close to the vest. Even as Strasburg left to get a physical, which typically only happens during the season if a player suffered an injury, the right-hander noted that he told his teammates it was “nothing serious” and that was enough.

Janes broke the report about an hour into Strasburg’s start against the Tigers on Monday, news that shocked everyone who assumed Strasburg would headline the otherwise underwhelming free agent class after this season. Seven years, $175 million with a limited no-trade clause, rolling opt-outs, $70 million in deferrals, and a $10 million signing bonus.

Great reporting, as usual, from the Washington Post team. The full article is worth the 15 minutes or so it will take to read.

It’s May 12 and Chase Headley just got his first extra-base hit of the season

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 30:  Chase Headley #12 of the New York Yankees reacts in the 11th inning against the Boston Red Sox on September 30, 2015 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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It’s true: Yankees third baseman Chase Headley went 28 games and 102 plate appearances before registering his first extra-base hit of the 2016 season. Headley drilled a two-run home run to left field off of Ian Kennedy, boosting the Yankees’ lead to 3-0 over the Royals in the second inning on Thursday evening.

Headley’s last extra-base hit was a double in his only plate appearance on September 27 last season against the White Sox. He had gone 124 plate appearances between extra-base hits.

Headley entered the game batting a meager .178/.265/.178 with four RBI and five runs scored. The 13-19 Yankees could certainly use Headley getting back on track.

Royals place Chris Young and Kris Medlen on the disabled list

OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 17:  Kris Medlen #39 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on April 17, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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The Royals announced on Thursday the club has placed pitchers Chris Young and Kris Medlen on the disabled list. Pitchers Scott Alexander and Peter Moylan have been promoted from Triple-A Omaha to fill the roster space.

Young, 37, has a strained muscle in his right forearm. The veteran has had a rough start to the year, owning a 6.68 ERA over seven starts. In his most recent start on Monday against the Yankees, he gave up five solo home runs and lasted only 2 2/3 innings.

Medlen, 30, has inflammation in his right rotator cuff. He lasted only two innings in his most recent start on Tuesday against the Yankees and now stands with a 7.77 ERA in six starts.

It’s been a rough year so far for the defending world champs. The Royals are 16-17, six games back in third place in the AL Central.

White Sox acquire Anthony Ranaudo from the Rangers

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 18:  Anthony Ranaudo #46 of the Texas Rangers throws a pitch against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on June 18, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe reports that the Rangers have traded pitcher Anthony Ranaudo to the White Sox in exchange for minor league pitcher Matt Ball. Ranaudo will report to Triple-A Charlotte.

Ranaudo, 26, has made only two appearances at the major league level for the Rangers this year. In 3 2/3 innings, he yielded seven runs on two hits and eight walks with two strikeouts. Ranaudo has had more success at Triple-A Round Rock, putting up a 2.02 ERA with an 18/4 K/BB ratio in 13 1/3 innings.

Ball, 21, is at A-ball for the first time in his career. With Single-A Kannapolis, Ball has a 4.50 ERA with a 24/5 K/BB ratio in 16 innings spanning 10 relief appearances.

John Lackey is upset with Christian Bethancourt for admiring a home run

PEORIA, AZ - FEBRUARY 26:  Catcher Christian Bethancourt #12 of the San Diego Padres poses for a portrait during spring training photo day at Peoria Sports Complex on February 26, 2016 in Peoria, Arizona.  (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

Padres catcher Christian Bethancourt provided the only run for either side in game two of Wednesday’s doubleheader at Wrigley Field against the Cubs. In the top of the fifth inning, Bethancourt absolutely demolished a 1-0 breaking ball from John Lackey, completely clearing the stands in left field.

Here’s the dinger, the deciding factor in the Padres’ 1-0 victory:

It’s tough to see any offense in that video, but Lackey is apparently upset with the way Bethancourt celebrated his home run. Per ESPN’s Jesse Rogers, Lackey sarcastically asked after the game, “How many home runs does he have?”

When noted that it was the first ever match-up between Lackey and the 24-year-old Bethancourt, the veteran pitcher responded, “Oh, I know. He’ll learn.”

If Lackey, 37, is not a fan of expressing emotion during baseball games, he should remember it was his angry outburst that led to him becoming one of the Internet’s most popular .gifs. But this is nothing new for him. As a Cardinal, Lackey was mad at former Cub Starlin Castro two years ago because he yelled at himself in Spanish after popping up. In 2013 with the Red Sox, Lackey intentionally hit then-Ray Matt Joyce with a pitch after Joyce had homered and very nearly hit another one.

The issue, really, is that Lackey seems to struggle dealing with adversity and lashes out in anger. That can’t be healthy.