Three games into the Washington Nationals 2019 postseason and Stephen Strasburg has already played the part of hero twice. In the other game, the Nats lost. Last night’s mastery spun 6 innings of 3-hit ball with 10 strikeouts to zero walks as he took the win at Dodger Stadium. His brilliance in the 2017 NLDS against the Cubs is largely forgotten since they didn’t advance, but it does add to the mounting pile of evidence suggesting Strasburg is indeed one of the game’s best big game pitchers.
Strasburg has a decision looming whenever the magic of the Nationals 2019 postseason runs dry. He has an opt-out clause in his contract that he could exercise to become a free agent this winter. Given the depressed market of recent offseasons, the possibility that Stras would opt-out seemed far-fetched not too long ago. That’s no longer the case. After completing perhaps the healthiest season of his career, one in which he could finish as high as second in Cy Young voting, one in which he registered league-leading marks in wins (18) and innings (209), as well as notching a career-high 251 strikeouts, Strasburg’s opt-out is more certain now than ever.
His agent, Scott Boras, is sure to make that pitch, though he has thus far refrained from speaking specifically about Strasburg’s intentions. He is, however, laying the groundwork for potential free agency by declaring stud starters such as Strasburg immune to any downturns in the market, per Bill Shaikin of the LA Times. With four-years and $100MM remaining on his contract already, he won’t exactly be hard-up for cash either way. Strasburg, 31, is also the rarest of Boras client – one who signed before reaching the open market.
If he doesn’t opt-out, his deal would expire after his 35th birthday. Strasburg could view this winter as his last opportunity to lock-in a major payday for his elder years. Zack Greinke signed his six-year, $206.5MM deal at a similar point in his career – after a career season in which he turned 31-years-old and finished second in Cy Young voting. In raw totals, Greinke’s 9.1 bWAR 2015 with the Dodgers eclipses Strasburg’s 6.3 bWAR 2019 by a decent margin, and Greinke’s overall track record was a tad more impressive at the time. He had been worth 48.9 bWAR to that point in his career versus 32.6 bWAR for Strasburg now. Even if you attribute the difference largely to durability (323 GS, 2094 2/3 innings for Greinke post-2015, 239 GS, 1438 2/3 innings for Strasburg post-2019), that’s hardly an insignificant attribution in contract negotiation.
A similar contract would more than double Strasburg’s guaranteed money while only tacking on two additional years. From the team perspective, it’s hard to fault the Diamondbacks for the deal now, as despite the whopping gross total, Greinke did deliver 16.4 bWAR across 3+ seasons, a playoff appearance, utility player Josh Rojas and their #4, #11 and #12 prospects as ranked by MLB.com.
Jake Arrieta signed a free agent contract when the Phillies inked him to a 3-year, $75MM deal the same week he turned 32. Arrieta had an even more uneven history than Strasburg, with 20.2 bWAR earned at the point of his free agency and a chasm of difference between the glory years in Chicago and his humble beginnings in Baltimore. This also feels less comparable to Strasburg as – despite being close to the same age at the time of free agency – Arrieta appeared headed for the downswing of his career. Strasburg is just now coming into his own, as written about here by Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post.
That same offseason, Yu Darvish signed his 6-year, $126MM deal with the Cubs in the winter of his 31st year. Darvish was coming off a 4.0 bWAR season split between Texas and Los Angeles, though a pair of disastrous World Series outings certainly colored the narrative of his free agency.
Regardless, Strasburg, Scott Boras, and the Nationals will have a lot to talk about this winter. If Strasburg can further grow his October legend, Boras may be right about his value transcending that of the market. Not to mention, Strasburg’s hometown of San Diego has a team on the rise, money to spend, and a gigantic ballpark with which to lure Strasburg home. In terms of competition, he’d be the clear-cut second-best starting pitching option on the free agent market after Gerrit Cole. You tell me: what comes next in the Strasburg saga?
(Poll link for app users)
He shouldn’t but he will
Hes had an insane year.look at what Corbin recieved last year.
To re-sign with the Nats.
Why shouldn’t he. Length of years is normally an issue- if he will accept a 4 year deal- what he is opting out of, he can get 30 million per year easily. 4 years 120 million is in no way out of the realm of possibility from a team like the Angels, Phillies, Yankees or Padres. 5 years at 135 million is by no means a stretch. He is only 31- with a lot less innings than most 31 year old starters, coming off an amazing year and further proving himself a big game pitcher as the article says. Evoldi was similar in age with the TJ surgery, with no where near S.S.’s numbers and only one good post season and look what he got last year in the depressed market. Look what Corbin got last year. S.S. will opt out and will be rewarded financially for doing so.
Considering he’s making $39M or so this season and is set to make $45M in a single season in 4 years anyway, I don’t really think he can actually get a more lucrative deal by opting out, but I could see the Nats giving him a loyalty extension of a year or two for something more ‘affordable’ but still commensurate with his WAR, like $37.5M AAV, so 2 years/$75M making it 6 years/$175M, which seems insane to me, a laymen, but I understand is fair and reasonable for his services at the MLB level.
Quick question: I assume that the Nats’ screwy salary/contract structure means that none of the listed annual salaries are actually accurate?
Like, in 2023 when Strasburg “makes” $45M for the season, does he actually get that $45M payout, or is it $45M on the books, like $10M for the season and $35M in 2024 when Strasburg is ‘retired’ from the current contract?
Maybe Strasburg feels a more straight up year to year all cash deal is better for him over deferred money and would take $100M of new, seasonal cash over whatever deferments he has to wait on from his listed salaries?
10 million annually is deferred from 2024-2030. This makes his 4/100MM contract worth less than that. I think there’s a good shot he opts out. He should be able to find that deal again if he wants to. If he were to opt out and not find a better deal, I have a hard time imagining the Nationals wouldn’t give him that deal again.
70 million of his $100 million dollar contract is deferred. Making him $30 mil over the next four years only. ?
10 million of his original 7 year 175MM contract is deferred annually. I believe he will receive 60 over the next 4. He’s already deferred 10 million per in his first 3 years of the contract.
So if he
he has 30
That money he makes in the 4th year isnt relevant, just the total value
I’m still a little confused. So, for simplicity’s sake, essentially, if he makes $15M in a season, it’s actually only $5M for the season then $10M years later? So when he makes $45M he’ll actually be paid $35M and then from 2024-2030 he gets $10M a year no matter what, without the interest, or he gets a lump sum $70M payment out of the deferred money?
The deferred money comes from the years where he has a higher salary. His 2019 salary was $35MM, with 30 deferred, and he got a $10MM signing bonus. His 2020 salary is $25MM with 10 deferred, 2023 $45MM with 30 deferred. The rest of the years he makes 15, paid as earned.
Yankees and a lot of other contenders need SPs. It won’t be hard for him to top the guarantee.
Especially his hometown team
If the Yankees lose before advancing to the WS, then we expect them to spend a little stupid on pitching. Strasburg is the perfect candidate.
This is a really difficult to decipher run-on sentence: “This also feels less comparable to Strasburg as, despite being close to the same age at the time of free agency, Arrieta appeared headed for the downswing of his career, whereas in some ways, it feels like Strasburg is just now coming into his own, as written about here by Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post.”
Massive overpay by
Translation: Arrieta and Strasburg are pitchers with comparable numbers heading into free agency and are the same age heading into free agency, but it feels like Strasburg has only been getting better and healthier and will continue to dominate, if not improve his dominant performances, for a few years to come, justifying any new long term expensive contract he will sign, whereas it seemed to everyone as though Arrieta was peaking just as he hit FA, so his 3 year/$75M deal with the Phillies felt like more of a really strong consolation prize and that Arrieta should be grateful to have that, knowing he isn’t really worth that money or the years anymore; but Strasburg could command more money than Arrieta for more years and be worth the whole contract.
What is the “also” in addition too?
Even if he takes haircut the AAV, it‘s hard to imagine he can‘t top $100 million.
What’s his hair have to do with it?
He can easily outdo 4/100, so the question is how much does he like the Nationals and would they rework it to add some years?
It’s a risk to opt-out, although he’s got a very good chance of making more. I always wonder whether management secretly hopes they all (even the best of them) opt out.
I feel like the nats probably don’t want him to opt out. He’ sonly signed through age 34 and at a reasonable cost. He isn’t one of those signed into their late 30s. Not to mention the deferrals which make the deal even better for the nats
Make it happen philly
If he opts out I would like the padres to at least make a run at him I think it would be good for both sides
Was going to mention the Padres as a for sure landing spot if Stras opts out. They will top 4/100 with a lot more of the money paid upfront instead of deferrals.
He also gets to return home to San Diego to pitch for the team he grew up rooting for, Tony Gwynn was a huge influence on him at SDSU, I could see him really wanting to come and get the Padres their first title.
The Padres are going after MadBum and Porcello. It is already written in the stars.
That’s news to me. I haven’t seen that anywhere that there has been interest in those specific names. If anything all I’ve heard most Padres fans talk about, is the allure and possibility of Cole.
Bumgarner and Porcello would be fantastic adds to the Padres imo, however the Strasburgh option leaves a glimmer of hope to most that he could return home to finish his career at more than would the option would be. It’s kind of a no-brainer if he becomes available.
*more than what the option would be. He would get more than 4/100 on the open market if the season ended tomorrow.
They can go after MadBum all they want but he will be a Brave next year. He is going to bring us over the top and be the Justin Verlander that thIs young Braves Pitching staff needs.
Keuchel was a nice add but he is not what they need. Thank god it was only a 1 year deal.
If they don’t advance to the nlcs I can see it
The Padres, Yankees, White Sox and Nats will all be in and easily get him to $200M. If anybody thinks Scott Boras won’t opt out…….come on. Really?!!!!!!
It’s not Boras’ choice to make, though. If I remember correctly, Strasburg actually pushed for the extension with WSH before he hit the market. I’m sure Boras will heavily try to persuade his client to opt out, but it Strasburg’s decision in the end.
Strasburg’s injury history and where the market looks like it’s headed makes this tricky. However, with only one true front-line starter available this off-season, supply/demand will be in Stras’ favor.
Could a potential return home to San Diego sway Strasburg to test the waters? It’s no secret that the Padres could use a leader on their staff, and as a player, going to a team with a bright forthcoming future has to be at least somewhat appealing.
A lot of the Nats’ deferrals will probably be washed by the windfall they’ll get from the O’s for MASN. My suspicion is that that’s how Rizzo got the Lerners to buy into the deferrals in the first place.
Either way, I see an opt out. Unlike RH hitting DHs (Martinez), most of the big boys (NYY, BOS, LAD, LAA, etc.) need pitching; I can even see TEX getting into the contest. And SD. Cole can only sign with one team. .
And Stras’ pulling an Eovaldi. volunteering to pitch wherever and whenever in the playoffs, may be due to team loyalty (BLECH!). But it’s more likely due to an attempt to further market himself.
Maybe he just wants to win? Believe it or not a lot of guys who play baseball love it amd want to win a world series.
Please Explain? Why does this team do deferrals like nobody else does them and how will the MASN deal from the O’s change this? Why does Rizzo believe in this approach?
No, and I don’t ever see him changing jerseys. It’s going to be a fun decade watching the Braves and nats duke it out in the division, the rival is alive and well!
I do believe the padres will make some big moves within the next two years, the Mets have already said they weren’t going to trade thor this year but the year after I could definitely see the padres trading for syndergaard. And if they sign strasburg they could have a rotation of strasburg, thor, gore, luchessi, and who knows for the 5th spot but still that would be a very good front four if everything goes right
Luchessi does not sniff the starting rotation if you somehow brought in those guys, unless you are leaving out a scenario of trading Paddack and Lamet? Both are already ahead of Luchessi, young, and controllable.
I think the Padres are much more likely to use prospect capital to pry a frontline starter away from a team…Kluber. Also not convinced that Mets saying they won’t be trading Syndergaard is not just positioning…
Lucchesi will be 5th SP in SDP at best.. 1)FA/Trade 2) Paddack 3)GORE 4) Richards 5) Lamet… Luchessi will get a few starts as Gore (inning limit) and Richards (1st full yr after TJ) won’t start more than 20-25 games and knocks and bumps require pitching staffs to use 8 to10+ different SP throughout a season.. if a trade is how SDP gets its TOR then likely Lucchesi is included as part of that deal.. in any case Gore might or might not pull a Paddack and start out of ST.. but rumor has it AJP looking at adding 2 SP this offseason..1 TOR type and 1 Vet #3 type.. so Lauer/Lucchesi/Bolanos/ Patino/Cantiillo/Nix/Quantrill and Company are all going to be wearing different uniforms or be part of a BP or AA/AAA roster that has a frequent flyer ticket for them.. Good Times in SDP incoming
Who knows. Based on his injury history he may not want to opt out. The grass isn’t always greener. Then again his agent is Boras and if he has Stephens ear he may just opt out.
If he opts out Padres should throw a sweet offer his way
I’d like to see Yankees give both Stras, and Cole $200M. Keep Boston in the cellar 🙂
If Cole grabs his elbow and leaves the mound before the Astros are done this month than Strasburg will opt out. If not then no he waits until at least next year when he can again choose to do so.
Good luck to whoever gets 4-6 years of Strasburg living on the DL. This year was an outlier. When healthy, Strasburg is easily one of the top pitchers in the game, but I don’t trust those mechanics to stay on the field for 200 innings ever again, expect 140.
This is a tricky poll question to answer because the way WSH does their contracts there is always so much deferred money. If he opts out, does he still get those deferrals, or are they voided?
If he gets the deferrals either way, then yeah, I could see him opting out to renegotiate in WSH.
If they void, I can’t see it though. I mean Greinke posted a better season in his aged 31 campaign, and Strasburg would have to roll the dice on almost equaling his contract in a year where a younger Gerritt Cole will be competing with him for those FA dollars from the select few that can afford them.
The last couple of years have been hard on the FA market but not on the top players, the so called super stars.. Those have gotten paid. If he ops out, and I think it will, he joins Cole at the top of the pitching market.
I think he opts out. Gerrit Cole is the only true frontline starter on the market. Any team that doesn’t land Cole would pounce at the chance to sign Strasburg. Just off the top of my head, his market could include the Yankees, Cubs, White Sox, Padres, Phillies, Giants, Dodgers, Rangers, and of course the Nationals. The Nationals have some question marks. They could potentially lose Rendon this offseason too and depending on how the rest of October goes, Stras might be ready for a change of scenery. The Padres have been wanting a frontline guy to mentor their young staff for 2 seasons in a row and having a local SD guy out there would be hard to resist. But Strasburg could have all the big market teams eating out of his palm (aside from Houston who wants to get under the cap as well as the Red Sox).
Could he top 4yrs/100m on the open market? I’d say absolutely. Just look at what Corbin got. That should be his comp.
Comparing to Greinke in 2016 is not really apples to apples anymore considering how the market has changed since then. Teams are not so willing to pay long term large money contracts into the 30’s anymore as history has shown many of those deals end up paying for a player who is no longer coming anywhere near performance to match the money spent. Many times, teams are paying for a player not even playing. This is not collusion. Just teams wising up and changing the business model. Not wise spening for older guys when younger talent is available and a better investment.
Now’s the time to come home to SD and lead the rotation. I’ll be sure to bring him some TJ Tacos
no brainer.. he opts out
he gets 5/130 at least and thats +$30 mil
its going to be an active Market for SP but he who waits might lose both player and team.. only so much $$ to go around and if I am MadBum or Keuchel I try to sign early with a would be Stras or Cole suitor.. same with Cole or Stras someone offers (Stras) a 5/130 he would be foolish not to sign early in the FA process
Can a 31 year old pitcher with a history of TJ Surgery coming off a stellar season get more than 4/$100M? Not sure, but given some of his current contract is deferred even matching that is better. It’s risky to be sure with Cole and Bumgarner both hitting the market this winter. Are there enough teams willing to shell out 9 figures for elite starting pitching? Given his agent is Bora$$ it would not surprise me if he does. And honestly, probably worth the risk. As long as he gets through the playoffs healthy, he should. At worse he might give up a little money off his current deal. The downside risk is pretty low right now. But the upside is that he could easily exceed the AAV of his current contract for at least the 4 years he has, and he could easily get a fifth year.
part of rhe blessing of TJ is Strasburg’s arm is as fresh as a 28 yr old..his innings pitched are some 400 less than a similar age SP at 31yrs old.. so TJ probably a positive vs a negative for Stras
Show Me Your Tatis
I completely forgot about paddack my bad
He will and he will be the second most Coveted pitchers on the market after cole
I want to say “of course he’ll opt out” but I said he’d never sign an extension with the Nats.
The implied assumption for those answering yes (opt out) is he cares most about the money and/or playing in SD (assuming they go after him- though that IS a safe assumption from here…) I wouldn’t be too quick to toss the experience and relationships he has here. There is even the example of Zimmerman as a player who made his fair share in salary and was happy here through good times and bad.
The real question is not how much can he get on the FA market. More important is what are his priorities? How deep are his roots in his neighborhood and community. Testing the free agent market then signing an extension with the Nats means no or at least far less) upheaval. But personally I think what matter most is the post season performances for all the Nats pitchers
The Rangers would be looking to snare at least 1 top shelf free agent this off season. The race for aces like G. Cole would get way more interesting.