The end of the regular season is approaching, which means that we aren't too far away from some players having to make difficult decisions -- like, say, whether they should opt out of their contracts and hit the free-agent market. Washington Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg is one of those players. While Strasburg may have other matters to worry about at present -- i.e. the Nationals' playoff run -- reports have already surfaced suggesting he's expected to opt out.
Predictably, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo is starting to get asked about Strasburg's situation. He addressed the possibility of Strasburg opting out on Wednesday, during a radio interview on 106.7 The Fan. You can listen to the segment for yourself by clicking here (the Strasburg question comes about 10 minutes in), or you can read the pertinent part below (hat tip to the fine folks at Federal Baseball):
"But [...] every time Stras is on the mound, I think I like our chances to win that game. I think he likes it here, and I think he loves his teammates and the atmosphere that we have here and I'm confident that he'll be a National."
Rizzo also noted that Strasburg has moved to D.C. on a full-time basis. Whether or not that means anything … well, that's for the time travelers and soothsayers to know and us to find out.
For as hectic as last offseason seemed for Rizzo -- having to navigate the drawn-out Bryce Harper situation while also signing Patrick Corbin and upgrading the roster elsewhere -- this winter might top it. If Strasburg opts out, Rizzo will have to contend with either re-signing or replacing both him and Anthony Rendon, or two of the Nationals' three most productive players this season, according to Baseball-Reference's Wins Above Replacement metric. Oh, and there's one other piece of intrigue to consider: Both players are represented by Scott Boras.
Of course, if anyone wants to play three-dimensional chess, then perhaps they can take Rizzo's confidence in Strasburg remaining in place as a sign that a new deal with Rendon may not happen -- thus freeing up the Nationals to give Strasburg whatever it takes to keep him around.
Or, maybe, Rizzo is just saying what every executive would say at this point, and there's no need to read between the imaginary lines. That's probably it -- even if it's not quite as fun.