Stephen Strasburg’s stretch of brutal injury luck continues. Manager Dave Martinez informed reporters (including Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post and Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com) today the former World Series MVP recently suffered a setback in his rehab from thoracic outlet syndrome. He’s not listed on the club’s Spring Training roster, and Martinez conceded there’s no current timetable for him to get back on a mound.
Jon Heyman of the New York Post reported earlier this month Strasburg had begun a throwing program after seeing his 2022 season cut short by continued TOS symptoms. Martinez told the media today the three-time All-Star recovered as hoped from his first throwing session but experienced nerve discomfort after his second workout. It was a similar story last summer, when Strasburg felt nerve discomfort in his ribcage area during a bullpen session between starts. That injury, suffered in July, sidelined him for the entire second half.
The former first overall pick made one start last year and has pitched in just eight MLB games going back to the beginning of the 2020 season. He was initially diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome during the shortened season, undergoing surgery that year after two starts. He returned for five appearances in 2021 before undergoing thoracic outlet surgery (which involves the removal of part of a rib to alleviate nerve pressure) and told Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post in September his TOS symptoms have dated back at least as far as 2018.
Strasburg candidly acknowledged in that chat with Dougherty he was uncertain whether he’d ever again approach his pre-injury form. Now 34, he admitted at the time that age was working against his comeback effort and said he wasn’t “really sure what the future holds.” Unfortunately, he’ll now have to navigate another setback and renewed uncertainty.
It doesn’t seem there’s any consideration of Strasburg giving up his pursuit of making it back to the major leagues at this point. Martinez told reporters Strasburg “(knows) in his heart he wants to pitch.” It seems inevitable he’ll head to the 60-day injured list whenever the Nats need a 40-man roster spot to accommodate an addition and isn’t clear when he’ll again be able to start throwing.
Strasburg signed a seven-year, $245MM free agent contract to stick with Washington after throwing 209 innings of 3.32 ERA ball in the regular season and dominating in the playoffs to help the club to its first World Series title. He’s receiving a $35MM salary annually through 2026, though around $11.43MM of each year’s salary is deferred with interest until 2028.
This guy’s career is likely over. Wow though, 225M and 7 years for literally sitting on the bench. Ouch, Nationals are worse than the Padres
I was trying to remember that the Padres may have been in the conversation for signing him even!
BREAKING: Water still wet
He’ll turn 35 in July and is still dealing with TOS symptoms even after surgery. This is not looking too rosy.
Oscar the Grouch
Which contract is worse Strasburgs or Corbins. Puking emoji puking emoji puking emoji!!!
I’ll take Strasburg as worse. For a bad team, at least there is a chance Corbin goes out every 5 days and gives you 5 – you may not like what you get but at least he is there.
I fear that this is the story in 2-3 years but will wait to see before calling it now. If he stays healthy and performs as he can – all good. If not, all bad.
Hey eastern league veteran….did you play for the Waterbury Reds back in the early 80s? If think I remember you.
I suspect he’ll make it back eventually, but I can’t see him being an impact pitcher. He’s three seasons removed from any significant contribution, quality or quantity wise, and now he’s trying to return from ToS. $35MM a year for the next four seasons will guarantee he’ll keep getting chances, but sadly his career as a quality starter appears done.
deGrom is already injured as well and will miss the beginning of ST. He’s got “side tightness.” I don’t see this being a short-term issue with deGrom’s history, but I hope it is for the Rangers fans’ sake.
Strasburg & deGrom both hurting before the first spring training game. What a surprise
His stuff is still first class, but Jacob is 35, I believe. Feels like he should be younger. Regardless, he’s not a kid and he puts a lot of stress on his body. The Mets letting him leave said a lot. They love him and Cohen could certainly afford him, but they still opted to replace him with the older Verlander, who is a workhorse.
As a Met fan I really hope the DeGrom signing doesn’t work out for Texas. It will break my heart if he stays healthy and pitches like a first ballot HOF’er for them. Plus f him for not really wanting to be here. Of course if god made it up to me, I’d let the man be healthy and successful. But since me rooting for him to fail has no actual influence on him, I hope he fails lol.
Having said that, I will hedge my emotions and draft him in my fantasy leagues. Because deep down I really do love DeGrom and I need a reason to still root for him. I think my heart is already broken. I’m glad I just talked that all out haha.
This isn’t exactly news anymore is it?
He should return a third of his earnings to the Nationals.
Arte Moreno has entered the chat
Large contracts are always insured for injury. Obviously the Nats would prefer he was pitching, but they’re not the ones paying him the last few years.
No, large contracts are not *always* insured. Insurance on these has been very hard to get for a long time now, and in many cases is nearly as expensive as the contract itself.
So, we can drop that fantasy narrative.
Albert Belle was the first large contract covered by insurance and at the time, killed the insurance industry for athletes.
Clearly not their fault.
And the difference is that Padres have multiple big contracts and are still paying Hosmer, Nats are tied up in only one. Huge comparison there.
Actually 2 – As discussed above the Corbin contract. 2 years and 60 mil left for his production is more than Padres owe Hosmer.
They’re also paying Max Scherzer $15 million for a few more years.
Rendon vs. Strausburg
I get that Strasburg had an amazing year and post season but I think most people knew that contract was going to be a disaster from the start.
The Nats won a World Series without him but I really think they should have re-signed Harper. It seems however that Rizzo gets his feelings hurt when a guy balks at his offer (Soto, Harper).
He was the MVP of their World Series team.
And can’t take that away from him. Also, earlier in career they shut him down on an innings limit to protect him. Isn’t it ironic how things come around.
And? He still would have/could have been the mvp of that World Series team. Strasburg didn’t sign his extension until after the Nationals won. Much like Sales extension.
you said “The Nats won a World Series without him”
he literally won the 2019 WS MVP…
No And. Just saying they were over cautious – I agree that he could have performed well – and it still bit them in the butt later. No denying they aren’t likely related injuries just pointing out the irony of that situation.
I’m pretty sure he was talking about Harper not being on the team.
I was referring to Harper
Finish the sentence…
“Finish the sentence…”
Write it properly: The pronoun and name need to be switched to get your “intended” meaning …without this confusion.
With SS’s injury history, I had a bad feeling about that contract. They knew they were going to lose Rendon, and it would look bad to not sign either star.
It’s all over for him. Great career but it is over.
If he retires, does he forfeit his future salary? Cause it’s time for him to retire with all these “setbacks”
Yep – 35 mil / year to rehab baby! Maybe they work out a buyout with an insurance company. He has a lot of deferred money so maybe a large pro-rated lump sum to walk.
He would forfeit his salary. It would have to be a Prince Fielder situation where the insurance company would have to agree that he cannot play anymore and then the Nationals would have to offset the money that insurance doesn’t pay out.
He will have missed around 248 out of a possible 510 career starts, with the vast majority of those missed game in the last 7 years of his career, when he was paid the vast majority of his salaries. $350 million for $170 million worth of appearances, overall, and 32.3 WAR, or around $10.836M per WAR.
He won a crappy lottery. I genuinely feel bad for him as a competitor who I assume wanted to earn his salaries, but I also marvel at how incredibly lucky he has been compared to other players who shined brightly but didn’t get those guaranteed mega deals because of their injury histories, despite the few accolades and dream seasons under their belts.
As in Corbin is the better bet
Corbin makes his starts every 5 days – 31-33 per year for a long time except 2020 and he got his 11 that year. Overpaid oh, yeah but pitching for the team as opposed to on the trainers table.
no way, who could’ve seen this happening… its over, just retire, great career stras
Wouldn’t it be wise to have this guy get surgery on his entire body at one time? It would be much faster than repairing a different part each year.
We can build him better, make him faster, make him stronger – google the Bionic Man intro (Lee Majors) from the 80’s.
We can rebuild him. We have the technology. Better than he was before. Better, stronger, faster.
Love it! The series ran 1973-78, and every kid wanted to be Lee Majors, 6 million dollar man and married to Farrah Faucet.
I had the action figure!
Wilmer the Thrillmer
Well, at least the Nats won the one World Series. Too bad they haven’t been remotely competitive since. The only thing they could have done worse since 2019 was to re-sign Rendon.
The Strasburg contract will go down as the worst contract ever signed. The Corbin (and Rendon) contracts are in the top 10.
Worse than Chris Davis?
Wilmer the Thrillmer
Way worse. 2023 will be the fourth season that Strasburg is getting paid 35 mil for not playing with 3 more seasons after this coming season.
Davis is the second worst contract by a distant margin. At least Davis was a 3.1 WAR player the first year of the contract and was replacement level the following season. His contract was 23mil per year for 8 seasons (184mil) versus 35 mil for 7 (245mil). Strasburg has pitched 8 games combined since 2019 and will likely not pitch in 2023.
I will say that the Chris Davis contract was hands down the worst contract ever until Strasburg’s.
Corbin’s contract is the one that brought him to DC for their World Series winning season in 2019. So yeah it’s an overpayment but without Corbin the Nationals almost certainly wouldn’t have won the WS, and probably wouldn’t have even reached the playoffs in 2019.
Strasburg got his current contract on the heels of that WS win, as did Rendon. For PR reasons the Nats almost had to re-sign at least one of their homegrown stars at that point.
Wilmer the Thrillmer
Yep, all true. But to give that money to Strasburg with his injury history was a poor bet to begin with.
We’ll see. There’s always the next ‘worst contract ever’ right around the corner.
Good thing the Nats refused to allow Strasburg to pitch in the 2012 playoffs to ensure he would definitely stay healthy later in his career.
That’s still one of the stupidest baseball decisions in the last 25 years.
Can someone explain to me how much money the people who buy the Nats will be covering in deferred payments. It’s their MO and the bill is rapidly approaching.
He’s still owed $174,285,716 with $80M in Deffered Money. And the 80M is over 3 years. So the Nationals are going to be paying Strasburg all this money to Rehab and then beg the insurance company to let him retire.
Strasberg is the David Wright of pitchers
Stick a fork in him
Time table for return: April 1st 2026…
Wait’s over. This is now one of the worst albatrosses in MLB history. -Nostalgic Nats Fan
* the worst
I also have Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, and mine started out as just a annoying little neck/shoulder/chest pain… and then it reached a point where the side of my face was going numb and I’d think I was having a stroke.
I stopped lifting and only did cardio for about 6 months, did physical therapy hoping to avoid surgery. I’ve learned to manage it, but when I lift heavy, do a lot of push-ups/pull-ups, or anything overhead, it starts to creep back in.
I’ve considered the surgery, but it’s still a relatively new procedure, and the outcome isn’t overly promising. I can’t imagine trying to be a world class athlete and work through all of that. I can’t see any way he ever comes back to a relevant playing ability. Sad to see.
Yikes, that sounds awful
How long did it take before it went from annoying neck/shoulder pain to your face going numb? I’d definitely think I was having a stroke too.
I’m trying to think if there’s any MLB pitcher who has returned to his prior level after Thoracic Outlet Surgery? I don’t mean a lousy MLB pitcher who had the surgery and returned and was still lousy, but a good MLB pitcher who had the surgery and returned to his prior level.
Chris Young is perhaps the most prominent example of post-TOS success. Trevor Rosenthal was supposedly on the right track, but I’d say his successful return is still on the fence. The surgery is truly hit-or-miss… you kind of just hope for the best. I hope Stras and RyanD44 can overcome their ailments.
I went to urgent care and had some basic tests done to rule out heart attack bc of the region of the pain. I’m only 33 and I’m very active/fit so that was more just precautionary than anything.
I found that the way I slept also made a big difference. Sleeping on my stomach – which I’ve always known is bad, isn’t an option anymore. That would cause flare-ups and relate to the facial numbness.
I also was religiously using a “chirp wheel,” which if you aren’t familiar with that, it’s essentially a foam roller but more directed towards your spine. I was trialing and erroring everything, and when I stopped using that, it helped a lot. I think the pressure from my backside laying on it when cause separation in my ribcage and thoracic region.
This is the longest stretch I’ve had without any setbacks. I’m still afraid of pushing myself to the full extent, bc it was a solid 10-12 months of extremely annoying symptoms, doctor visits and lifestyle changes.
As far as pitchers go, I know Matt Harvey had the procedure done, and he was really bad coming back. Josh Beckett threw a no-hitter after it, but still wasn’t the same pitcher. Carter Capps, Tyson Ross, Phil Hughes were never the same.
I think a lot of it coincides with Tommy John Surgery as well. I’ve had 3 surgeries on my left elbow from baseball, all bone spur/bone chip removals, and my left arm doesn’t completely straighten out, which I know is true for several pitchers as well. That can cause an imbalance when weight training and overload one side.
you have a small sample size if i remember right only a handful of pitchers have had the procedure like maybe 20 all together and if you are talking all star pitchers around the time of needing the surgery, only harvey really fits the bill.
Archer had the procedure and seems the same if not slightly better but he was not great for a couple of years.
Carpenter was good for his couple outings during the season after he came back but he was already declining before the procedure. and was hit or miss in the playoffs that year. The next season, he worked out but never made it back all the way and retired.
Merrill Kelly had a great year last year and he’s a TOS recovery story.
Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think Merrill Kelly ever had TOS surgery? While he was a 30yo rookie in MLB, I thought he spent 5 healthy years in MiLB and 4 in the KBO. Again, I could be wrong…
Merrill Kelly had it in 2020
Chris Young came back, but he was never more than a back of the rotation arm., slightly worse than before. Kenny Rogers was probably close to his former self. A few others in this blog entry were also probably okay before and after. It’s a hard thing to recover from, the syndrome, not the surgery. The surgery is a desperate attempt to fix it, but it seems as though the same symptoms from the “unnatural” motion of pitching overhand recur for most after the surgery.
Yea, the surgery is just trying to relieve the compression. I think the surgery would help a normal person live a pretty normal life again, but like you said – to go back to that overhead throwing motion, the surgery is far from a guarantee.
The article mentions Daniel Bard although i dont remember him having the surgery but since he had a good season last year he might be one if someone can find out if he truly did have TOS or not.
Chris Young had an ERA+ of 107 in 348.1 post-TOS innings. He was never an Ace per se, but his pre-surgery ERA+ was 92. Perhaps there is a more “successful” example, but he is who comes to mind. Maybe being super freakin’ tall helped him overlook the issue? Haha
People are going to make fun of him for being injured all the time but I for one am sad that one of the best pitchers of his generation has spent so much time off the diamond in his career due to injuries.
This is the proper take, good on ya jdgoat.
put it in the books
Single worst contract is baseball history
Chris Davis’s is about tied, they are both bums
Chris Sale is doing his best to be in this conversation.
This one belongs to the Reds
Interesting all these guys having setbacks as camp opens and none of these teams planned for that contingency so they are all losing their minds.
TOS surgery seems to end pitchers. I have to imagine there are better procedures. The track record for success is very low.
What else is new?
Ouch, good luck on the rehab
What kind of insurance do the Nats have for these injuries ? Do they get money back ? This is Awful. And another reason these longer term deals are absolutely ridiculous.
While I can’t specifically speak for the Nats, it’s my general understanding that most contracts have full insurance. One would suspect that Stras in included in that presumption…
He’s been robbing WAS for years
Yikes. TOS surgery doesn’t bode well. Good luck to him
Hes had a decent career despite the injuries. He’s been hurt enough to derail most careers alot earlier than this. Hopefully he gets back and has some life left in him
Sadly, bro is Strasbrick now