Strasburg and Nats have a deal— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 9, 2019
Stephen Strasburg’s deal with the Washington Nationals is for seven years and $245 million, a source tells ESPN.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 9, 2019
Strasburg shatters a record for most total money ever given to a free-agent starting pitcher, beating David Price’s seven-year, $217 million contract signed in December 2015. He returns to the Nationals, the team that drafted him first overall in 2009, after opting out of the remaining four years and $100 million on his contract last month.
While there were rumors about Strasburg possibly going to the Yankees, Dodgers, or Padres, it always seemed like a decent possibility that he’d return to Washington. The three-time All-Star made a fantastic case for a lucrative new deal in 2019, posting a 3.32 ERA and 1.04 WHIP while striking out 251 and walking just 56 over an NL-leading 209 innings. He also led the NL with 18 wins. Strasburg was at his best during the postseason, throwing for a 1.98 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP over six appearances (five starts). He threw seven shutout innings in his lone NLCS starts and tossed 8.1 dominant frames in a World Series Game 6 that pushed the momentum back in the Nationals’ direction after losses in Games 3, 4, and 5.
With Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner having said last week that the team “can only afford to have one of” Strasburg and free-agent third baseman Anthony Rendon, it certainly seems as if the Nats’ best hitter in 2019 will be heading elsewhere. It’ll be interesting to see how the market shapes up for Rendon; the Phillies, Dodgers, and Rangers have been mentioned as potential fits, and with him being arguably the best pure hitter in baseball, it’s hard to make an argument against any club going after him.
The deal also should give us an idea of how large a deal Gerrit Cole will get this offseason. The 29-year-old appears likely to beat Strasburg’s deal, and this will obviously force his suitors to up the ante.