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Acee: Padres to pursue Strasburg

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Sources indicate San Diego will be suitor for SDSU product and World Series MVP

Washington Nationals Victory Parade Photo by Chaz Niell/Getty Images

As you might’ve seen on the Union-Tribune or elsewhere on the web, the Padres are expected to make a run at Stephen Strasburg in free agency.

Kevin Acee of the UT relayed on Sunday that “multiple people in the organization indicated over the past few days that the team will be in position to make a run at Stephen Strasburg”. Strasburg, 31, officially opted out of the remaining four years and $100MM on his contract with the Nationals on Saturday evening.

In order for the Padres to lure Strasburg back to his native SD, GM AJ Preller will have to overcome a few obstacles. First, Strasburg and his agent Scott Boras have a historically strong relationship with the Nationals and their Lerner family ownership.

Strasburg re-upped with DC back in the middle of 2016, opting forego his first taste of free agency; that was a serious anomoly for a Boras client, as the Newport-based Boras Corp typically guides their clients toward free agency as quickly as possible.

In recent years, Boras clients like Patrick Corbin, Max Scherzer, and Jeremy Hellickson have all found homes in Washington; Juan Soto is also a Boras client, so it will be interesting to see if the Lerner family and Nationals GM Mike Rizzo do everything in their power to keep Strasburg—and his agent—happy partly as a means of facilitating future negotiations with the new face of their franchise.

Indeed, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that the Nationals and Boras would commence negotiations on Sunday with an interest in keeping Strasburg in DC.

With free agency beginning today—yes, like, ‘today’ today—and no word on a new Strasburg-Nationals deal, it’s fair to wonder whether Preller and his associates are already beating down Boras’ door.

A secondary obstacle in this pursuit will doubtlessly come down to price tag. How high will the Padres be willing to go? Given that Gerrit Cole is expected to set the market with a record-setting contract, where does Strasburg’s ceiling reside? $160MM? $200MM? Higher?

The Padres have a young rotation and a roster that has struggled to get over the hump despite $444MM in recent investments in Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer. Could Stras be the missing ingredient in a 2020 Padres contender?