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Report: Stephen Strasburg opts out of contract with Nationals

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Big news, though unsurprising news at that: MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that starter Stephen Strasburg has opted out of the remainder of his contract with the Nationals to become a free agent. Strasburg had four years and $100 million remaining of what was in total a seven-year, $175 million extension.

Strasburg, 31, led the National League with 18 wins and 209 innings pitched along with a 3.32 ERA and a 251/56 K/BB ratio during the regular season. He was even better in the postseason, going 5-0 with a 1.98 ERA and a 47/4 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings, helping the Nationals win a championship and earning World Series MVP honors in the process.

It’s fairly certain Strasburg will be able to find many more years and many more dollars in free agency, so opting out was a no-brainer. Now the rest of the league will be able to pursue his services. Fellow free agent starter Gerrit Cole will likely set the market, so don’t expect Strasburg to sign until after Cole does.

Worth noting: Both pitchers are represented by Scott Boras, who has advised his clients in the past to wait out the slow free agent market, even into February and March, in order to get the deals they deserve. That could very well be the case again with Cole and Strasburg.

Royals, Alex Gordon close to contract agreement

Alex Gordon
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MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that the Royals and outfielder Alex Gordon are “getting close” to an agreement on a one-year contract. Terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but the Royals could make it official within the next few days.

Gordon, who turns 36 years old next month, hit .266/.345/.396 with 13 home runs and 76 RBI over 633 plate appearances with the Royals this past season. His offense has waned, owning an adjusted OPS of 84 since 2016 (100 is average), but he still plays decent defense.

Gordon has spent all 13 years of his major league career with the Royals. With the club in a rebuilding phase, he will serve as the clubhouse leader and be a mentor to younger players on the roster.