Stephen Strasburg’s extension could lead to an active trade market

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Stephen Strasburg inked a seven-year, $175 million contract extension with the Nationals which was made official on Tuesday morning. Strasburg would have been the headliner in a weak free agent class. Now, Clay Buchholz may very well be the top arm available in free agency after the season, which is saying something.

Will this lead to a more active trade market this season? Jon Morosi seems to think so as he explains in a column for Athletics starter Sonny Gray would likely be the most sought-after prize despite his lackluster start to the season. Jose Fernandez and Danny Salazar could also be moved if their respective teams end up falling out of contention by the August 1 trade deadline. The Braves could move Julio Teheran to facilitate their rebuilding process.

In the lower tier of pitching, Morosi suggests Andrew Cashner, Jeremy Hellickson, and Doug Fister could change addresses.

The baseball landscape has evolved, as teams are locking up their young players rather than letting them hit free agency. We’re used to seeing at least a handful of superstars, but the 2017 free agent class could be the most underwhelming ever.

Colin Poche, Rays go to arbitration just $125,000 apart

Colin Poche torn UCL
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Reliever Colin Poche went to salary arbitration with the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday with the sides just $125,000 apart.

The gap between the $1.3 million the pitcher asked for and the $1,175,000 the team offered was the smallest among the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration figures last month. The case was heard by John Woods, Jeanne Vonhof and Walt De Treux, who will hold their decision until later this month.

A 29-year-old left-hander, Poche had Tommy John surgery on July 29, 2020, and returned to the major leagues last April 22 after six appearances at Triple-A Durham. Poche was 4-2 with a 3.99 ERA and seven saves in 65 relief appearances for the Rays. He struck out 64 and walked 22 in 58 2/3 innings.

Poche had a $707,800 salary last year.

Tampa Bay went to arbitration on Monday with reliever Ryan Thompson, whose decision also is being held until later this month. He asked for $1.2 million and the Rays argued for $1 million.

Rays right-hander Jason Adam and outfielder Harold Ramirez remain scheduled for hearings.

Players and teams have split four decisions thus far. All-Star pitcher Max Fried ($13.5 million) lost to Atlanta and reliever Diego Castillo ($2.95 million) was defeated by Seattle, while pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Marlins.

A decision also is pending for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe.

Eighteen additional players are eligible for arbitration and hearings are scheduled through Feb. 17. Among the eligible players is Seattle utilityman Dylan Moore, who has a pending three-year contract worth $8,875,000.