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Report: Nats' Strasburg likely to test free agency after 2016 season

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Report: Nats' Strasburg likely to test free agency after 2016 season

[Updated: 8:32 p.m.]

The Nationals saw Jordan Zimmermann walk in free agency this winter and, according to a new report from FOX Sports, Stephen Strasburg is likely to follow the same path a year from now.

The story comes from Jon Morosi, who says the Nats and Strasburg's camp "aren’t in active talks about a contract extension as spring training begins. It’s highly unlikely that will change before the season is over."

Strasburg, 27, is entering his seventh season with the Nationals. The former first overall pick has a 3.09 ERA in 132 career starts.

Strasburg is represented by agent Scott Boras, who has a reputation for getting big money for his clients in free agency. Strasburg, for one, should be helped by what is an otherwise weak free agent market for starting pitchers.

Strasburg is expected to be the top free agent starting pitcher available next winter. That should help the right-hander's cause to get a significant contract likely worth well over $100 million, depending on how he performs this season.

If Strasburg does leave next winter, he will become yet another home grown star to depart the Nats as a free agent. Zimmermann was the first and shortstop Ian Desmond is still expected to follow.

Strasburg battled numerous injuries during the 2015 season and went 11-7 with a 3.46 ERA, the highest mark of his career. He was limited to 23 starts and struck out 155 batters in 127 1/3 innings.

The Nationals hope Strasburg can carry over his strong finish to last season. Over his final 10 starts he went 6-2 with a 1.90 ERA.

Strasburg had a benign growth in his back surgically removed in October. He is expected to be 100 percent healthy for spring training.

Strasburg is due to make $10.4 million in 2016 after avoiding arbitration with the Nationals for the final year of his rookie contract.

[RELATED: NL East: Braves trade ranked best move of MLB offseason]

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Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

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USA TODAY Sports Images

Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

WASHINGTON -- Juan Soto, the youngest player in the majors at 19, hit a three-run homer in his first career start as the Washington Nationals defeated the San Diego Padres 10-2 on Monday.

Mark Reynolds had two solo home runs for the Nationals, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Bryce Harper had a homer and an RBI double.

Soto's drive highlighted a five-run second inning for Washington. The promising outfielder, who played for three minor league teams this season, hit the first pitch from Robbie Erlin (1-3) over the Nationals bullpen in left-center field. Soto also singled.

Soto's homer traveled an estimated 442 feet at Nationals Park. He earned a standing ovation from the crowd and the teenager responded by taking a curtain call. Per Baseball-Reference.com, Soto became the first teenager to hit a home run in a major league game since Harper on Sept. 30, 2012.

Called up to Washington on Sunday, Soto became the first 19-year-old to make his major league debut since Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias in 2016. He entered that game in the eighth inning as a pinch-hitter and struck out.

Washington's starting left fielder began the season at Class A Hagerstown. He hit a combined .362 with 14 homers and 52 RBIs in his three minor league stops.

Gio Gonzalez (5-2) allowed two runs and two hits in seven innings.

San Diego's Franmil Reyes, playing in his seventh career game, also hit his first career home run.

Trea Turner hit a pair of RBI doubles for Washington. Reynolds had three hits.

Erlin surrendered six runs and seven hits over four innings in his third start of the season. San Diego had won three in a row.

Reyes connected for a two-run homer in the fourth inning, but the Padres' lineup generated little else against Gonzalez, who allowed one run over six innings in a no-decision at San Diego on May 9.

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.

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Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

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@MLB

Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

Juan Soto, the highly-regarded 19-year-old Nationals' prospect, got his first major league start of his career tonight. 

How did it go, you ask? Surely it would take Soto - who was in Single-A less than two weeks ago - some time to adjust? 

What were you doing at 19??

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.