What Stephen Strasburg opting out means for the Nationals, free-agent market

Strasburg in line for megadeal after opting out of contract (2:00)

Jeff Passan and Keith Law discuss the near-limitless market for Stephen Strasburg and the various teams that might be in line to pay him. (2:00)

Washington Nationals manager Dave Martinez says he knew his team's dugout celebrations had gone next-level when Gerardo Parra and Anibal Sanchez sandwiched Stephen Strasburg in a hug. Because anybody who knows Strasburg or has played with him understands how private he is, how much he values his personal space.

In a sense, free agency is like Strasburg's free-market nightmare, bearing the specter of a bunch of teams throwing themselves at him, trying to embrace him. The last time Strasburg got close to free agency (after the 2016 season), he bypassed that possibility; agent Scott Boras arranged a seven-year, $175 million deal -- because Strasburg really didn't want to go anywhere. He was comfortable in Washington, working for and with people he knew.

But Strasburg has opted out of that deal because the fact is that had he lived under the terms of that contract, he would have been undervalued and would have left apparent leverage unused.