The Washington Nationals ended up signing Max Scherzer as their big splash move last winter, but they were in talks with the Rangers about a blockbuster trade involving Stephen Strasburg according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. Washington and Texas reportedly discussed a massive deal involving Strasburg, Steven Souza Jr, Juickson Profar, and others.
The Rangers were one of several clubs that talked to the Nationals about righty Stephen Strasburg last offseason, but never got close to a deal, according to major-league sources.
The talks were wide-ranging, involving a number of names, sources said. The Rangers also had interest in outfielder Steven Souza, who later went to the Rays in a deal that brought the Nats righty Joe Ross and shortstop Trea Turner. The Nats, meanwhile, had interest in shortstop Jurickson Profar, who at the time was expected to return from a torn muscle in his right shoulder.
Strasburg’s value obviously isn’t what it was, but this shows how serious Jon Daniels and company were about improving their rotation last winter after Matt Harrison, Derek Holland, and Martin Perez were non-factors for the club in 2014.
Of course, if this trade actually happened, it would have led to an interesting domino effect. If the Nationals traded Souza as part of a Strasburg trade, they wouldn’t have Trea Turner and Joe Ross, meaning that Doug Fister would likely still be a part of their rotation instead of languishing in the bullpen. Without the guarantee of getting Souza, would the Rays have even traded Wil Myers to the Padres, or would have they just ended up holding on to Ross and/or Turner?
And that leads us to the Padres – if the Rays couldn’t get Souza, and the Padres couldn’t get Myers, where would they have turned for another outfielder? Would they have pushed the Braves earlier for the Kimbrel/Upton trade, and kept Turner to be their long-term shortstop?
I love thinking about trades like this that never happened – it wouldn’t have effected just the two parties involved, but would have ended up branching out to affect a quarter to a third of the league.
But it didn’t happen, and that’s that. I doubt Texas will be sniffing around Strasburg this winter following the summer’s acquisition of Cole Hamels, which depleted their farm system. Could Strasburg still be dealt after the 2016 season? Perhaps – he’s a free agent after 2016, and will likely end up commanding a salary of more than $10 million in his final year of arbitration.
Mike Rizzo and company haven’t really been sellers during the team’s resurgent tenure, but considering their struggles in 2015, and the impending departures of Ian Desmond, Fister, Denard Span, and Jordan Zimmermann, I could see them trying to retool rather than going for one last run at October glory.