As of last Saturday afternoon at least, Stephen Strasburg hadn't been lobbying fellow Washington Nationals' right-hander Jordan Zimmermann, trying to convince his rotation mate to remain in the nation's capital. And he didn't sound like he would be.
Zimmermann and the Nats have reportedly discussed a long-term deal again this winter, but as of yet there's been no new contract announced and no trade, though there have been rumors the Nationals are entertaining offers.
As Strasburg said, however, Zimmermann has earned to right to get what he can and play where he wants to after six major league seasons.
"It's definitely his deal," Strasburg told reporters. "Every player has the right for when they've earned it, they can pick where they want to play. I'm just trying to go out there and help the team win. That's all I'm focused on right now."
What exactly he's focusing on and working on this winter, Strasburg wouldn't say.
"Just working hard, getting stronger," he said when asked, but he declined to offer specifics.
"Just always trying to get better on the mound," the '09 no.1 overall pick explained. "With that said, there's a lot of things you can't control. You just gotta focus on what you can and stay consistent."
Strasburg was asked if he felt there was any pressure to win now with Zimmermann one of five free-agents-to-be who could be gone after next season.
"It doesn't take just one guy," Strasburg said. "It's a team perspective. Just because some guys might stay, some guys might go doesn't mean we're all of a sudden going to go backwards. I think you gotta just be patient and understand that you may not see the guys who are on the minor league side just yet. I've had a chance to see some of them play and there's definitely a lot of talent down there. I think that's just how the game works. Guys get older, they get closer to free agency and they have an opportunity to make a decision for themselves and their family.
"I think from an organizational standpoint, it's really cool to see how much has changed talent-wise from the system all the way up. I think [Mike] Rizzo and ownership has done a great job to ensure that the team will be winning for many years to come."
Strasburg's worried about next season though, and in the next week or so he said he'll begin to prepare in earnest for his own sixth major league campaign after he went (14-11) in 34 starts in 2014, posting a 3.14 ERA, a 2.94 FIP, 43 walks (1.80 BB/9) and 242 Ks (10.13 K/9) in 215 IP over which he was worth a career-high +4.3 fWAR.
"I just pick up a baseball right after Christmas," he explained. "I long-toss for a few weeks. I'll throw a couple bullpens and then spring training is there."
He refused to bite when another reporter asked what he'd be working on specifically?
"Specifics, no," Strasburg said, "because that’s between me and myself. I’ve allowed stuff to be analyzed, interpreted, in my opinion way too much, and I’m just going to go out there and do what I know I’m capable of."