Bill Baer

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 04:  Stephen Strasburg #37 of the Washington Nationals pitches in the first inning during a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants at Nationals Park on July 4, 2015 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Report: Nationals and Stephen Strasburg have agreed on a “significant long-term extension”

8 Comments

Update (8:18 PM EDT): Heyman is reporting that it’s a seven-year extension worth $175 million that is expected to include deferrals and opt-outs.

*

Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post is reporting that the Nationals and starter Stephen Strasburg have agreed on a “significant long-term” contract extension. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman is reporting the same. Per Janes, the official announcement is expected to come on Tuesday. Details of the contract aren’t known at the time.

Strasburg, 27, is earning $10.4 million this season, his final year before he would have become eligible for free agency. He is represented by Scott Boras, so it is surprising to see him agree to an extension before hitting free agency, as that is something Boras clients typically don’t do. Presumably, the Nationals are paying him a pretty penny as a result.

Strasburg would have headlined an otherwise underwhelming class of free agent starting pitchers, which certainly would have (and likely already has) benefited him greatly.

Entering Monday night’s start against the Tigers, Strasburg owned a 5-0 record with a 2.36 ERA and a 47/9 K/BB ratio in 42 innings.

Dodgers option Casey Fien to Triple-A

KANSAS CITY, MO - APRIL 9:  Casey Fien #50 of the Minnesota Twins throws in the fifth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on April 9, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Over the weekend, the Dodgers claimed reliever Casey Fien off waivers from the Twins. On Monday, the club announced it has optioned him to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Fien, 32, was one of a handful of castoffs from the Twins, who have had myriad issues, resulting in an 8-23 record. Fien surrendered 12 runs on 21 hits and three walks with 12 strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings with the Twins, resulting in a disappointing 7.90 ERA. Between 2012-15, however, Fien posted a sub-4.00 ERA, so he has historically been a reliable bullpen arm.

The Dodgers have had bullpen troubles of their own, enough that the club has even considered promoting 19-year-old prospect Julio Urias. Jharel Cotton and Jose De Leon have also drawn consideration.

Andrelton Simmons to undergo thumb surgery

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - APRIL 19: Andrelton Simmons #2 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim reacts after flying out to end the fourth inning against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on April 19, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
Jon Durr/Getty Images
6 Comments

Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons will go on the 15-day disabled list as he will need surgery on his left thumb, MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez reports. He has been diagnosed with a full thickness tear of the ulnar collateral ligament, per Gonzalez. Simmons suffered the injury diving for a ball during Sunday’s game against the Rays.

Cliff Pennington will likely handle the shortstop position while Simmons is out. Neither Simmons nor Pennington has had much success at the plate this year, and Pennington is certainly no Simmons with the glove, so it’s a clear downgrade for the Angels.

The 13-18 Angels have been snakebit in the injury department, as Craig Gentry, Andrew Heaney, Garrett Richards, Huston Street, and C.J. Wilson are all currently sidelined with injuries as well.

Anthony Rizzo on Bryce Harper: “Honestly, we ran out of stuff to talk about [at first base].”

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 06: Anthony Rizzo #44 of the Chicago Cubs hits a solo home run in the 3rd inning against the Washington Nationals at Wrigley Field on May 6, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
2 Comments

Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper came to the plate seven times on Sunday afternoon against the Cubs, but he had zero official at-bats. That’s because the Cubs played keep-away. Harper drew six walks — three intentional — and was hit by a pitch. The Nationals eventually lost 4-3 in 13 innings, suffering a four-game series sweep at Wrigley Field.

Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo saw Harper a lot over the course of the afternoon. So much so that Rizzo said, “Honestly, we ran out of stuff to talk about,” per Bruce Miles of the Chicago Daily Herald.

According to Baseball Reference, Harper is the first player to draw six walks in a game since Jeff Bagwell on August 20, 1999 against the then-Florida Marlins. Only two others had done it before Bagwell dating back to 1913, Andre Thornton (1984) and Jimmie Foxx (1938). Harper is the first since at least 1913 to reach base seven times without recording an official at-bat.

Harper, 23, has a .265/.432/.633 triple-slash line on the year along with 10 home runs and 27 RBI. With eight intentional walks, he’s already more than halfway to last year’s total of 15. If Ryan Zimmerman — who hits behind Harper and left a record 14 runners on base on Sunday — can’t figure things out at the plate, Harper is going to see more and more opposing managers opt to pitch around him.

Report: Bryce Harper gave a homeless woman a jar of money

KANSAS CITY, MO - MAY 02:  Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals warms up in the on-deck circle during the game against the Kansas City Royals on May 02, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
19 Comments

According to a report from Scott Allen of the Washington Post, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper gave a homeless woman a jar of money on Mother’s Day after his club had suffered a four-game series sweep at the hands of the Cubs.

A woman who works part-time in event operations for the Cubs posted this on Facebook:

Even before he was selected first overall in the 2010 draft, Harper has been a lightning rod for criticism. More recently, he has been the target of old-school baseball players — past and present — who don’t like the way he plays the game. Harper, to his credit, has taken it all in stride. This latest event involving him should do nothing but earn him respect. Assuredly, however, there will be a grumpy sportswriter or ex-ballplayer who will accuse Harper of only being nice for the P.R. or something.