Stephen Strasburg
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Stephen Strasburg passes Steve Rogers for franchise strikeout record

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Nationals hurler Stephen Strasburg became the new franchise strikeout leader on Friday, surpassing former Expos starter Steve Rogers’ record with his 1,622nd career strikeout against the Mets.

Strasburg entered the series with 1,619 career whiffs under his belt, needing just two to tie the record and three to break it. He found an opportune moment to do so when, after retiring both Jeff McNeil and J.D. Davis in the first and second innings, he induced another three-pitch swinging strikeout from Todd Frazier in the third:

At the outset of Friday’s game, Rogers’ previous strikeout record had remained unchallenged for 34 years. He wrapped his 13-year career in an Expos’ uniform in 1985, striking out the Padres’ Steve Garvey in the first inning of his final start for strikeout no. 1,621. (For those who may feel it’s a bit generous to lump in the Expos’ team records with those of the Nationals, the player who previously tallied the most career strikeouts in a Nationals’ uniform was Jordan Zimmerman with 903 — a mark long-since improved by Strasburg.)

Following his record-setting performance in the third inning, Strasburg continued to improve his career totals. He bounced back from a disastrous, three-run inning in the fourth and struck out newly-minted Met Joe Panik, Marcus Stroman, and J.D. Davis, bringing his numbers up to 1,625 strikeouts overall. It’s an impressive addition to an already-solid campaign, one in which the 31-year-old righty carries a 3.80 ERA, 2.3 BB/9, 10.7 SO/9, and 4.0 fWAR through 149 1/3 innings.

Reds sign Nicholas Castellanos to a four-year deal

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The Cincinnati Reds have signed outfielder Nicholas Castellanos to a four-year deal worth $64 million. The contract includes opt-outs after both 2020 and 2021, which is certainly good for Castellanos, allowing him to go back out on the market if he has a big year. Odd that the Reds would agree to that, but on an annual basis it’s kind of a bargain for them so you figure that has something to do with it.

With Castellanos in the fold the Reds are going to have a lot of outfielders when they hit Goodyear, Arizona in a couple of weeks, with newcomer Shogo Akiyama, Jesse Winkler, Nick Senzel, Aristides Aquino, Travis Jankowski, Scott Schebler, and Rule 5 draftee Mark Payton already on the roster. Senzel was an infielder before last year, of course, so he could move back to the dirt, perhaps taking over short from Freddy Galvis, who could be dealt. Alternatively, the Reds could trade from their newfound outfield surplus.

Castellanos, however, will have left field to himself. While he’s shaky at best with the glove, he had a breakout year at the plate in 2019, hitting .289/.337/.525 overall (OPS+ 121), but slugging at a blistering .321/.356/.646 pace (OPS+ 151) after being traded from the Tigers to the Cubs. In Chicago — rescued from cavernous Comerica Park — his big doubles power turned into big homer power.

Now that he’ll be playing in hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark one can only imagine the damage he’d do.