With free agency about to get underway, the offseason is going to pick up steam. What are the big questions facing all 30 teams?
The Nationals are about as set as any team out there heading into the offseason. Four-fifths of the rotation is locked in, including two Cy Young finalists (Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg). The most important pieces of the bullpen remain (Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson). With the exception of left field, where Adam Eaton will likely step in upon returning from his knee injury to replace free agent Jayson Werth, the lineup that cruised to another NL East title is completely intact.
So what does GM Mike Rizzo have to do this winter? Lock up Bryce Harper. Or at least try to. Harper is set to become a free agent after the 2018 season. Given that he’s (a) in his walk year, (b) repped by Scott Boras and (c) sitting on a gajillion-dollar jackpot, the odds of the 25-year-old Harper agreeing to a long-term extension are roughly equivalent to the odds of dress socks not falling down to your ankles within five minutes of putting them on.
Still, Rizzo and the Nats must try, and they will. Not for nothing, Strasburg (a fellow Boras client) signed a $175 million extension in May 2016, six months before he would’ve hit free agency. So anything’s possible. — Eddie Matz
The big name here is obviously Giancarlo Stanton, but reports out of Miami say the new ownership group wants to cut payroll from $115 million to $90 million,…