In what would have been a stunning deal, the Washington Nationals offered Stephen Strasburg for Corey Seager straight up.
The Washington Nationals made an offer last winter for Corey Seager. Not just a stab in the dark effort, mind you, but offering Stephen Strasburg straight up for the likely 2016 National League Rookie of the Year.
For all involved, the Los Angeles Dodgers declined. Strasburg wound up with a seven-year contract extension and Seager played a key role in the Dodgers defeating Washington in their NL Divisional Series.
If ex-GM and ESPN Insider Jim Bowden is to be believed, the Nats were concerned Strasburg would hit free agency and leave. With Danny Espinosa’s bat being far behind his defense, you can see why the Nationals thought they needed the upgrade. Also tells you where they thought Trea Turner was a year ago.
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Much like the efforts to land Andrew McCutchen from the Pittsburgh Pirates and Brandon Phillips from the Cincinnati Reds via trade, general manager Mike Rizzo will do what he needs to fill the holes in the roster.
Pittsburgh may move McCutchen in this offseason, a tasty target with two full seasons of team control. Phillips is near the end of his career and is not an upgrade over Daniel Murphy at second or Ryan Zimmerman at first.
In making this rumor public, we can learn for the future. If, for example, negotiations with Bryce Harper do not go as planned, the Nats will see what they can get. Whether it is prospects or Mike Trout—under a friendly team deal with the Los Angeles Angels through the rest of the decade—Washington will what they want.
All players get discussed at the annual Winter Meetings—held this year in Washington—as there are only so many symposiums you can stay awake for. Any GM worth his salt wants to know what it will take to get their desired player. Offers, such as this, happen all the time.
The difference here is it went public. We know the Nats will do what they can to move Espinosa before February. His tendency to strike out at will, along with the desire to move Turner to his native short, makes a trade attempt obvious.
The timing of the trade effort is no accident. Whether it is a message to Scott Boras, that Washington holds all the leverage over Harper or an sign to other teams no one is untouchable, this is a good sign for you the Nats want to win.
If you are Boras or Harper, do you push for a trade? Or do you hammer out the record-setting deal? The ball is in their court.