SAN DIEGO – There is fallout for the Toronto Blue Jays from the Washington Nationals’ reported $245-million, seven-year agreement with Stephen Strasburg, and not simply in the way the deal should drag prices up in an already pricey free-agent class.
Strasburg’s return to the World Series champions leaves Gerrit Cole as the sole remaining ace in play, which should only intensify the bidding between the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers for the right-hander’s services.
Should the Yankees win out on that front, not only would Cole become an obstacle to overcome in the American League East, but that would also increase the likelihood that the Dodgers circle back to Hyun-Jin Ryu, who is emerging as one of the Blue Jays’ prime targets.
Strasburg’s deal surpasses the record $217-million, seven-year deal David Price signed with the Boston Red Sox after the 2015 season and sets the stage for Cole to end up with an even bigger payday.
The proceedings also position super-agent Scott Boras to act as kingmaker here, as the representative for Strasburg, Cole, Ryu, Dallas Keuchel and others pitchers, as well as star third baseman Anthony Rendon.
The Blue Jays are casting a wide net in pursuit of a starting rotation, with some degree of interest in a group of starters that also includes Tanner Roark, Alex Wood, Wade Miley and Josh Lindblom. In an ideal world, they’d like to sign at least two, possibly three starters.