The Washington Nationals and Stephen Strasburg aren't discussing a contract extension as spring training is set to begin according to a report from Jon Morosi. Furthermore, it's "highly unlikely that will change before the season is over."
Strasburg, who is set to become a free agent following this season, will rank as the top pitcher on the free market come November providing he remains healthy. He could be joined in free agency by Andrew Cashner, Jaime Garcia, and teammate Gio Gonzalez.
To the Nationals' credit, Scott Boras applauded the way his client's health was handled. “They’ve listened to the doctors," said Boras. No stranger to making his opinions public, Boras publicly ridiculed the handling of Matt Harvey by the New York Mets. It's worth noting that he has since changed his mind on the matter.
Over the past two seasons, only 17 starting pitchers have accrued more wins above replacement according to FanGraphs estimations. What's perhaps most impressive about that is that Strasburg has thrown the second-fewest innings of any of those pitchers.
The worry with Strasburg usually revolves around health. He has thrown 200 or more innings only once in his career. However, when healthy, there are very few pitchers who can strikeout batters with more prowess. Since 2014, Strasburg's strikeout rate ranks fourth among qualified starters at 28.5 percent. That's places him behind Clayton Kershaw, Chris Sale, and teammate Max Scherzer.
Boras didn't rule out a return to the Nationals, however, it does appear that a contract extension is completely off the table for now. In very preliminary glances, Strasburg appears to be one of the top eligible free agents going into next offseason.