As a free agent, Stephen Strasburg is welcome to sign with whomever he wishes. Although the Nationals are currently the favorites to re-sign one of their aces, where Stras will end up is certainly up in the air.
If Stephen Strasburg were to sign with another NL East team this offseason, would he be booed in his return to Nationals Park?
Bryce Harper was booed relentlessly in his return to Nationals Park in a Philadelphia Phillies uniform. Would the same principle apply to other former Nationals?
The Nationals Talk Podcast discussed the sentiment on their latest episode.
CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST:
"I think he would be initially cheered and then sort of booed," Todd Dybas said. "Just his general demeanor doesn't prompt the divisiveness that certainly Bryce Harper did and does," Dybas continued.
Dybas also mentioned that information following Strasburg's hypothetical signing with another team would be a big factor in the fans' decision to boo or not to boo, such as when Harper chose the Phillies over the Nationals when the deals were somewhat comparable, to which Chase Hughes agreed.
"The context is just so much different in the sense that Stephen Strasburg just delivered a World Series and was one of the central reasons why," Hughes said. "He should never have to buy a drink in this town again even though he's probably going to end up with like $400 million in his career, in career earnings."
Tim Shovers agreed that Strasburg's hypothetical return would deliver a "mix" of cheers and boos.
Hopefully, this scenario stays hypothetical, and the Nats can re-sign the World Series MVP.
MORE NATIONALS NEWS:
The Nationals announced their first move toward rebuilding their bullpen for the 2020 season Sunday, signing right-hander Kyle Finnegan to a major-league deal.
Finnegan, 28, became a free agent for the first time this winter after seven seasons in the Oakland Athletics’ minor-league system. The A’s drafted him in the sixth round of the 2013 Draft out of Texas State, originally developing him as a starter until converting him into a reliever in 2016.
Oakland granted Finnegan an invite to Spring Training ahead of last season, but he never made his way onto the team’s 40-man roster. His breakout season was in 2019, when the organization asked him to lower his arm slot to generate more movement on his pitches.
Finnegan posted a 2.66 ERA with 14 saves over 42 appearances for AA-Midland and AAA-Las Vegas last year. His fastball has touched triple digits in the past but sits in the mid-to-upper 90s. His newfound success has also seen him rack up more strikeouts, as evidenced by his K/9 that jumped from 9.7 in 2018 to 12.8 in 2019.
Prior to signing with Washington, Finnegan joined the Aguilas Cibaenas of the Dominican Winter League. He has a 2.31 ERA in 14 appearances so far this winter.
The Nationals’ 40-man roster now sits at 30 with the addition of Finnegan following non-tenders of Javy Guerra and Koda Glover. It will move up to 32 once the signings of Yan Gomes and Howie Kendrick are made official. The move comes less than 12 hours before the MLB Winter Meetings are scheduled to begin in San Diego.
MORE NATIONALS NEWS:
Only one player in the major leagues threw a pitch while over the age of 40 last season. Fernando Rodney, who in fact is 42 and coming off his first ever World Series title, has appeared in at least 50 games each of the last eight years and 10 of the last 11.
For a player who’s three years older than the second-oldest active pitcher, taking the offseason off wouldn’t just be expected—it’d probably be recommended. But Rodney is taking no such break, reportedly signing up for the Dominican Winter League this offseason.
Leones del Escogido plays in his hometown of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. This will actually be the fifth time Rodney will suit up for the team, most recently doing so last winter.
Rodney is a free agent after being picked up by the Nationals midseason. He’s played 17 years in the majors and ranks 17th all-time in saves with 327.
MORE NATIONALS NEWS: