Nationals Notebook

Washington Nationals' Offer to Stephen Strasburg Qualifies as a Record

By Thomas Boswell and Chico Harlan
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, August 16, 2009

CINCINNATI, Aug. 15 -- The Washington Nationals have offered No. 1 overall draft pick Stephen Strasburg the largest contract ever for a pitcher taken in the amateur draft, according to industry sources.

The team's proposed deal is worth more than Mark Prior's $10.5 million contract in 2001 and has been on the table for some time.

Strasburg is virtually certain to make at least twice as much money -- if he signs with the Nationals -- as last season's top amateur-draft contract of $6 million, according to sources who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of negotiations between the team and player.

A deal must be finalized by midnight on Monday or Strasburg will re-enter the draft next season and the Nationals will be compensated with the No. 2 overall pick in 2010.

The Nationals' dealings with Strasburg and his adviser, Scott Boras, appear to parallel last winter's negotiations between the team and free agent Mark Teixeira, who is also represented by Boras.

The Nationals made an initial offer of $160 million for eight seasons, but during the course of the talks raised their final offer to $188 million for nine years.

If that template is repeated, Strasburg may end up being offered between $14 million and $16 million.

Sources on both sides of the negotiations have indicated in recent days that they still cannot predict whether Strasburg, 21, will agree to terms before the deadline.

As of late Saturday, 15 first-rounders across the league remained unsigned, including all six players represented by Boras.

Said Ryan Zimmerman, Washington's 2005 first-round pick: "When it comes down to it, Strasburg has to think about, 'Can I go to bed if I turn down 15, 16 million dollars -- whatever it is -- to pass up the opportunity to play for these guys?' That's a lot of money. I don't understand what he thinks will be better next year. If we don't take him, who's gonna take him next year? Pittsburgh? San Diego? San Diego is not gonna pay him more. Absolutely his leverage will never be higher."

Detwiler Gets a 'W'

Ross Detwiler, a starter for Class AAA Syracuse, pitched six scoreless innings on Friday.

He also accomplished something that, until then, he hadn't done all season: He recorded a victory in the Chiefs' 4-3 decision over Rochester.

Before Friday, Detwiler had gone winless in six starts with Class AA Harrisburg (2.96 ERA), in 10 starts with the Nationals (6.40 ERA), and in five starts with Syracuse.

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