Stephen Strasburg, Nationals Avoid Arbitration

The Nationals have announced that they've agreed to terms with pitcher Stephen Strasburg, avoiding arbitration. CBS Sports' Jon Heyman tweets that Strasburg will make $3.975MM next year. He can also earn up to $125K in performance bonuses, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post tweets. Strasburg is represented by Scott Boras.

MLBTR projected Strasburg would make $3.9MM in his first trip through the arbitration process. He also made $3.9MM in 2013 in what was effectively the final year of the Major-League contract he signed when the Nats drafted him in 2009. The Nationals control Strasburg's rights through 2016. The righty posted a 3.00 ERA, 9.4 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 183 innings in 2013.


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31 Comments on "Stephen Strasburg, Nationals Avoid Arbitration"


David
1 year 6 months ago

“The righty posted a 3.00 ERA, 9.4 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 183 innings in 2013.”

And yet people continue to think he had a bad year.

Phillyfan425
1 year 6 months ago

He did give up 10 unearned runs – which would have resulted in a 3.49 ERA (had they been earned runs). ERA isn’t a gold measure – since sometimes, the pitcher can make an error, which leads to some runs. I’d bet (a hefty sum of money) that he didn’t make errors that led to all of those runs (so I’m not trying to say he’s all to blame). But a pitchers main job is to keep runs from scoring – earned or unearned. It wasn’t a bad year – just not what you should be expecting from your ace, especially one as touted as Stras.

David
1 year 6 months ago

That was a much-talked about thing in Washington. How he deals with adversity, when there’s an error behind him. He did struggle with it, but he got better with it at the season progressed. All of that is a young pitcher becoming more mature. But his peripherals are still dominant. I’ll copy what I posted above:

Strasburg allowed only 6.7 hits per nine innings, the fourth-best in the NL, and his ratio of strikeouts per nine innings also ranked fourth; only five pitchers in baseball allowed a lower OPS to opponents than Strasburg’s .588. And he did that while pitching through discomfort. In what world is that not dominant? He’s not Clayton Kershaw, but he’s been plenty dominant. He’ll be fine.

Phillyfan425
1 year 6 months ago

While his peripherals are still toward the top of the league, there were some things to note. His K/9 dropped from an insane 11 in 2012 to a still amazing 9.5 last year. His BABIP was ridiculously low (compared to his other years) – it was .319 in 2010 and .311 in 2012 (I’m ignoring his 2011 numbers because it was such a small sample size of 5 games) compared to the .263 BABIP last year. Some of that is his improvement, some of that is him getting lucky (Fangraphs projects that it was mostly luck – giving him a .305 and .292 BABIP projections for next year).

I’m not arguing that he had a bad year. I’m not arguing that he isn’t a great pitcher. I’m just saying, he didn’t have the sparkling year that some have come to expect from him (which is probably unfairly expected).

David
1 year 6 months ago

The drop in BABIP is explained by the decrease in LD% and the increase in GB%. It’ll probably regress back toward his norms a bit. I think we’re mostly in agreement though. Strasburg is capable of better. I just disagree with the perception that he had a bad year.

Phillyfan425
1 year 6 months ago

Agreed. Anyone who’s saying he had a bad year is just mad because he’s not on their team (and this from a Phillies fan). Great pitcher, very good 2013.

David
1 year 6 months ago

Also, while 10 unearned runs is a lot, you can’t just pretend they’re all earned. Every pitcher gives up unearned runs. Kershaw gave up 7, for instance.

Phillyfan425
1 year 6 months ago

I don’t pretend they are all earned. I just tend to look at RA/9 for pitchers (because, really, their job is run prevention – I could care less if a run counts as earned or unearned, especially with how fickle errors are counted these days).

Guest
1 year 6 months ago

He didn’t have a bad season by any means, just like Albert Pujols didn’t in 2012. Strasburg was hailed as the next Cy Young when he was drafted but it’s looking like he’ll never be a true top 3 pitcher. Matt Harvey is considered a better pitcher by most scouts. Strasburg is a great pitcher, just probably not a hall of famer.

chris hines
1 year 6 months ago

Before 2013 scouts were saying Harvey had too many control problems to be an ace and he’s now going to miss a full year due to the same TJ surgery Strasburg had. Pitching ranks are extremely fluid, it’s far too early to say what either one if these young arms is going to be in 5 years time.

coreif
1 year 6 months ago

It’s too bad, he basically has to pitch like ’99 Pedro Martinez or people will say he’s a disappointment.

Nathan Boley
1 year 6 months ago

Strasburg will make for an interesting FA case when his arbitration runs out. He’s good but nowhere near the phenom everyone predicted he would be during college. He has been consistently above average since his surgery, but hardly dominant.

If he really does have Cy Young-caliber potential, now would be the time to show it.

David
1 year 6 months ago

Strasburg allowed only 6.7 hits per nine innings, the fourth-best in the NL, and his ratio of strikeouts per nine innings also ranked fourth; only five pitchers in baseball allowed a lower OPS to opponents than Strasburg’s .588. And he did that while pitching through discomfort. In what world is that not dominant? He’s not Clayton Kershaw, but he’s been plenty dominant. He’ll be fine.

Nathan Boley
1 year 6 months ago

Oh I’m sure he’ll be fine. I just have doubts that the Nationals drafted him with that much fanfare to perform like he has. He clearly has Hall of Fame caliber talent, but it has’t fully materialized…yet. That surgery and the continued discomfort could be a red flag as well.

chris hines
1 year 6 months ago

So you think they’re dissapointed with 10.44 K/9, 2.55 BB/9, 2.96 ERA, 2.79 FIP in 434 IP? I’m sure they were hoping to avoid the TJ surgery but outside of that I don’t see how they could be dissapointed with his career numbers to this point. They are the ones who have put the pitch and innings limits on him so I don’t see how they’d be upset about something they’ve instituted.

Natsfan89
1 year 6 months ago

What continued discomfort? Are you talking about the weird forearm cramps he had this year when experimenting with new grips? Because they did an MRI and full examination after that happened and everything was ok structurally.

chris hines
1 year 6 months ago

Wasn’t it determined to be bone chips in his elbow that they surgically cleaned up?

Natsfan89
1 year 6 months ago

Yup

FS54
1 year 6 months ago

Every time I have such doubts, I watch his debut DVD. I am not saying that he has not pitched great games since.

Nathan Boley
1 year 6 months ago

He hasn’t been that dominant since then though. Plus that could suggest hitters have adjusted to him.

David
1 year 6 months ago

…but he has. See my response to you above.

Nathan Boley
1 year 6 months ago

He really hasn’t. I believe he struck out 15 of my Pirates in his debut. He clearly has Kershaw-type stuff, but I think his potential hasn’t been fully reached.

David
1 year 6 months ago

I agree that he hasn’t reached his potential, but he’s still been dominant. He struck out 12 Pirates in 2013, too. Gave up no runs. Got the no-decision.

Nathan Boley
1 year 6 months ago

Yes I remember watching that and thinking that I was watching the next Greg Maddux. He’s still young so I hope he does, but it has taken longer than I would have said back then.

Natsfan89
1 year 6 months ago

Well he had that whole “torn ligament” thing that set him back a year…

1 year 6 months ago

It looks like he is getting $3.975MM, very nice job on the projections.

Karkat
1 year 6 months ago

Did they ever iron out the whole arbitration/opt-out thing with Harper? I know it’s not an issue just yet but I’m waiting for that to get awkward

chris hines
1 year 6 months ago

The problem with Stras’ public perception is innings, if he was logging 32-34 starts and 200+ innings no one would have a problem with his numbers or calling him an ace. Still doesn’t change the fact that he has all the makings of an elite starter, he just needs to stay healthy and be given the chance to pitch, though I don’t blame the Nats for being cautious when he’s feeling any kind of discomfort.

Cliff Lau
1 year 6 months ago

Stephen Strasburg had a good season in 2013. He most certainly didn’t have a bad season. I just think people expected more from him, and thus they are disappointed. He posted a 3.2 fWAR (35th overall among SP) and 3.3 RA9-WAR (38th overall among SP) last season. Those are pretty good numbers.

pft2
1 year 6 months ago

So if you had a choice between Strasburg and Tanaka who would you take?. Both will be 25 in 2014. One will get 120 million contract, the other is playing for what Tanaka made in Japan last year

chris hines
1 year 6 months ago

The money makes it easily Strasburg, if you give them the exact same contract I’d probably still go with Stras based on potential but his potential lack of durability scares me. I think Tanaka entices more based on being unknown as opposed to raw stuff, he onkly averaged 90.8 MPH last season in Japan. He has a wicked split but I worry about that velocity when expecting him to be an ace, especially when he features a 2-seam up not down in the zone.