Washington – Stephen Strasburg opted out of the final four years of his contract with the Washington Nationals, three days after the star pitcher was chosen MVP of the World Series.
This morning the Nationals front office and the Boras Company the representatives of Strasburg are in extensive conversations to work out a deal. The goal by both sides is to craft an extension to keep him in Washington.
For now, Strasburg has given up $100 million he had been guaranteed from 2020-23 as part of a $175 million, seven-year contract he agreed to with the Nationals in May 2016.
Strasburg was 18-6 with a 3.32 ERA this season, topping 30 starts for the second time in his career and leading the NL with 209 innings pitched. Then he went 5-0 with a 1.98 ERA in five postseason starts and one relief appearance, including wins in Games 2 and 6 of the World Series against Houston.
Last year Strasburg moved his family from San Diego to Northern Virginia where he now has a lovely new multimillion-dollar estate. During the regular season and even into the postseason Strasburg made it clear that while opting out of his contract was possible his goal was to try to stay as part of the Nationals organization.
One of the reasons Strasburg is not really looking for a change is that the Washington organization has always had his back. Strasburg is two years older than Garret Cole, who is the top free-agent arm on the market,
He likely would command a lower price because of age and durability. He was on the disabled list during seven of his 10 seasons, all but 2012, 2014 and this year.
There is a very deep pitchers market out there for starting pitching. Hyun-Jin Ryu, Zack Wheeler, Madison Bumgarner, Rick Porcello, Cole Hamels, Jake Odorizzi and Dallas Keuchel will all be looking for new deals.
Strasburg opted out, the $30 million deferred from his 2019 salary becomes due in three $10 million payments on each July 1 from 2020-22. The deal included a $10 million signing bonus that was payable July 1 this year and salaries of $15 million in both 2017 and 2018.
With both the Nationals and Strasburg working together the chances are good that they get an extension done. There are never any sure things when dealing with Boras Company, so we will see how this plays out.
Meanwhile, the Nationals have made it clear they are all in on keeping All-Star third baseman Anthony Rendon, another key component of the team’s title run, also is a free agent represented by Boras. But unlike last year’s battle over the Bryce Harper left the team the Nationals made a ten year $300 million dollar offer with a time limit on the deal.
But they feel Rendon is different so they will continue to try to keep him. It should be noted that they have offered a contract extensions two him this past year.
So, the offseason started before the buzz of winning a World Series in DC has worn off.