Stephen Strasburg's 7-year, $175 million contract extension has caused quite the conversation, from how big of risk it can be for the Nationals to its impact on the rest of baseball.
That impact goes to a number of young pitchers that are looking to cash in on their early success in the majors, and Strasburg's contract gives them a bench mark for what they will probably be asking. Here is a look at five pitchers who might be next in line for some big bucks.
5. Matt Harvey
A surprising name to start this list given all that has gone on with Harvey during his time as the Dark Knight for the New York Mets. Innings limit issues and his early struggles aside, Harvey is a major reason for Mets success the past two seasons and keeping him in New York should be a top priority. One major road block to getting a deal between Harvey and the Mets done is -- or was -- Scott Boras, Harvey's agent.
Boras has (or had) a reputation for his clients not settling and signing an extension. Strasburg, a Boras client, signing this mega deal could be a sign of Boras changing his ways and realizing that pitchers need to capitalize on their value now, and that's how a couple of Boras clients find their way on this list.
4. Gerrit Cole
The 25-year-old Pirates ace had quite the offseason, when the Pirates renewed his contract for the minimum amount of $541,000. Cole isn't a free agent until 2020, but teams are starting to buy out the final years of arbitration to get some cheaper years when these pitchers become free agents.
Over his four seasons with the Pirates, Cole has a 43-23 record with a 3.12 ERA, was an All-Star in 2015 and finished 4th in the National League Cy-Young award voting. Another Boras client, but with Cole just a couple of seasons away from free agency and the Pirates having a tendency to work these extensions out sooner rather than later, something could brew between these two soon.
3. Jose Fernandez
Say it with me: another Boras client. The second-youngest pitcher on this list made his MLB debut at age 20, and has already missed time due to Tommy John surgery once. With uncertainty about pitcher ability for longer period of times and Fernandez due to become a free agent in 2019, this season or next could be the perfect time for the Marlins to work out a longer deal with their ace.
Pairing Fernandez long term with Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich could give the fish a young, highly-talented core to build themselves around as they try to bring a championship back to Miami.
2. Noah Syndergaard
The second Met to appear on this list, and he may be the best one of them all. Syndergaard, or Thor to many fans in Flushing, is the youngest pitcher on this list at age 23 (he beats Fernandez by about a month). He made his debut last season for the Mets and become a force to be reckoned with in the postseason. That success has carried over for Thor to this season.
It's just a fact that the Mets won't be able to pay all of these pitchers, and prioritizing which ones they want to keep in the fold will be key. Syndergaard is on the younger side, and probably provides the most value in the long run. That, and him not being a Boras client could make him the more likely Met to get the big money.
1. Sonny Gray
Gray is a really interesting case, and he makes the number one spot on this list because the A's have to pay him. They really don't have a choice. The 26-year-old has been good during his first four years in Oakland, going 36-24 with a 3.11 ERA.
With Strasburg off the board, the trade talks for Gray are only going to heat up more, and Billy Beane is known to cash in on his players when their value is high, but Gray is an interesting case. If the A's are going to compete going forward, they are going to need an ace, and Gray is that. The value that they get from Gray in a trade will set them back in the long run in terms of competing.
Gray is probably going to get paid in one way or another. Either he gets paid from the A's or his way of getting paid is to going to a new team and them paying him.