The Washington Nationals' hot month just got hotter with the signing of No. 1 draft pick Stephen Strasburg, defying cynics who believed they wouldn't cough up enough dough, and avoiding losing its first pick for a second-consecutive season.
Minutes after the midnight deadline, reports surfaced that Strasburg and the team agreed to a four-year, $15.67 million deal, ESPN.com reported. Sports Illustrated had reported that a $12.5 million deal previously was offered by the team. Prior to the draft, Boras was rumored to be seeking as much as $50 million over six years.
Signing the San Diego State pitcher was more important than anything the team has been doing on the field.
The team has no intention of rushing Strasburg, who went 13-1 with a 1.32 ERA and 195 strikeouts last season, to the big leagues but has said their timetable could conceivably get the phenom onto the 2010 Opening Day roster.
In 2001, the Chicago Cubs signed pitcher Mark Prior, the No. 2 pick, to a record five-year, $10.5 million contract.
Boras said it didn't make sense to compare Strasburg's value with bonuses from eight years ago, because baseball's revenues have more than doubled since then.
"Scott has been advocating a new methodology for evaluating draft picks. So he's been talking in those kinds of ideas, concepts and, frankly, comparables with players that are simply not comparable to this circumstance," Nationals President Stan Kasten told the Associated Press. "On the other hand, we are happy to use as a comparable any player ever drafted at any position in the entire history of Major League Baseball. We'll do that. But we're not willing to just abandon all of that and start over with a brand new valuation methodology. That we just can't be a part of."
Last year, the Nationals failed to No. 9 pick Aaron Crow, a pitcher from Missouri.