Washington Nationals Reportedly Sign Stephen Strasburg To Record Deal

The Washington Nationals have reportedly reached an agreement to re-sign Stephen Strasburg to a 7-year/$245 million deal. The deal was first reported by Jon Heyman (Twitter).  The terms of the deal were reported by Jeff Passan (Twitter).   

The deal includes a no-trade clause as reported by Bob Nightengale (Twitter) and Nightengale also reported that the deal includes $80MM in deferred money (Twitter).

Strasburg’s deal will cover his age 31-37 seasons and it breaks the record for a contract given to a pitcher. David Price held the distinction since signing his $217MM deal with the Boston Red Sox in 2014. 

There is some risk in projecting Strasburg’s career trajectory from his strong 2019 season. He finished the 2019 season with a 18-6 mark with a 3.32 ERA  making 33 starts while logging 209 innings. 

It was the most starts and innings pitched since his 2014 season when he made 34 starts and logged 215 innings. In between he struggled to stay healthy. In 2015 through 2018 he made 23, 24, 28, 22 starts and was limited to 127.1-innings, 147.2-innings, 175.1-innings, and 130-innings. 

Regardless of the injury history, Strasburg when healthy has been a very effective pitcher. His performance in 2019 shows just  how dominant he can be and the Nationals are banking that they will get more seasons like 2019 and less of 2015-2018. 

In retaining Strasburg, the reigning World Champions will enter 2020 with the bulk of their starting staff of Strasburg, Max Scherzer, Patrick Corbin, and Anibal Sanchez in tact. 

While Strasburg has the record for both the total dollars guaranteed ($245MM) to a pitcher and  the annual value ($35MM) it is now expected that Gerritt Cole will surpass one if not both of the marks by the end of the Winter Meetings.

Besides the ripple effect in the market of Gerrit Cole, the signing of Strasburg probably brings an end of the Anthony Rendon with the Nationals.

“We really can only afford to have one of those two guys,” Lerner told Donald Dell of NBCSW. “They’re huge numbers. We already have a really large payroll to begin with.”  

We’ll now see if Lerner was being honest about the financial flexibility the Nationals have or if they pivot in another direction to replace Rendon.

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