UPDATE: Strasburg says goodbye, for now…

Leave a comment

Strasburg debut.jpgUPDATE: According to the Nationals’ official Twitter feed, Strasburg has been optioned to Double-A Harrisburg.  That’s that.

SATURDAY, 8:39pm: Stephen Strasburg just wrapped up what could be his last start of the spring with the Nationals.

He got off to a bit of a rough start, serving up a solo home run to Cardinals shortstop prospect Tyler Greene on the first pitch of the game — the first run he has allowed this spring — followed by a one-out home run by Allen Craig. But after that? Strasburg struck out seven of the final 12 batters he faced.

Strasburg’s final line for the night: 4 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 8 Ks

The 21-year-old has a 2.00 ERA and a 12/1 K/BB ratio in nine innings pitched this spring.

Those are some pretty darn impressive numbers, but Mark Zuckerman of Nats Insider has what could oddly qualify to be the doozy of them all:

In three spring
starts totaling nine innings, Strasburg has not recorded a flyout. 13
groundouts, 1 popout, 12 strikeouts.

Wow. Strasburg might start the season in the minor leagues, but you can pretty much mark it down that he’ll main attraction in Washington by June.
 

BREAKING: Manny Machado to sign with the Padres: 10 years, $300 million

Getty Images
29 Comments

Jeff Passan of ESPN reports that Manny Machado has a deal with the San Diego Padres. Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that the deal is for ten years and $300 million with an opt-out after year five.

At the moment there is some disagreement as to how “done” this deal is, with Padres chairman Ron Fowler saying “We do not have a deal. We are continuing discussions.” Ken Rosenthal, however, says that’s “semantics” and that the financial terms are in place, with the deal requiring over some final touches on language and Machado’s physical, which will likely be a formality.

The Padres were a late entrant into the Machado sweepstakes, but they reportedly met with Machado last week. The club has obviously not won for a long time, but they have a strong farm system. While that usually mitigates against a big free agent signing, Machado’s age — 26 — means that he’s still likely to be a productive player when that core of prospects is mature. And if it doesn’t develop, hey, he’s made some serious bank and can still opt-out at an age when he might get another decent paycheck.

For the Padres, Machado represents the biggest single investment in a player in club history. Last year they spent too, of course, giving Eric Hosmer an eight-year, $144 million contract, but this is definitely next-level. As for the baseball side of things, it’s likely that Machado will be the full-time third baseman with Luis Urias handling shortstop. While all of the talk about Machado over the past several months has been focused on money and, sometimes, his alleged lack of hustle, the Padres are getting a player with a career line of .282/.335/.487 (121 OPS+), 175 career homers and a 33.8 career WAR in seven big league seasons. While he played shortstop last year and as a minor leaguer, his past and future is at third, where he is a superior defender. As for the hustle: it has almost exclusively been an obsession of the media, based on an ill-advised postgame quote in October. He has received no bad reviews from former teammates, all of whom speak highly of his game and his work ethic.

When the offseason began it appeared that the Phillies or the Yankees or, perhaps, the White Sox had the inside track on Machado. Everyone took a wait-and-see approach, reasonably believing that by waiting out Machado, a better deal could be struck. The risk of that approach, of course, is that it allowed the Padres to talk themselves into getting bold and, ultimately, swooping in to strike this deal.