After leading the Washington Nationals to their first World Series title, Stephen Strasburg opted out of the remaining four years and $100 million on his contract. He joined a free agency class that was co-headlined by Gerrit Cole and Anthony Rendon.
Although Strasburg is older than Cole, several teams had reported interest. That included the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees, who each met with Cole as well. Meanwhile, the Nationals long were considered the favorite for Strasburg.
Internally, the Nationals were said to be confident in their odds to re-sign the reigning World Series MVP despite interest from the Dodgers and others.
That now has come to fruition as Strasburg and the Nationals agreed to a record-breaking contract, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan:
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
The $245 million surpasses the seven-year, $217 million deal David Price signed with the Boston Red Sox in December 2015 that was the richest contract a pitcher has received in MLB history. Furthermore, Strasburg’s $35 million average annual value tops the record that belonged to Zack Greinke.
Of course, Strasburg may not hold onto both marks for long as the market for Cole figures to now intensify.
While the Nationals have retained Strasburg, it may effectively remove them from re-signing Rendon. Owner Mark Lerner previously ruled out the likelihood of coming to agreements with both players.
That could impact the Dodgers as they may be running in third place for Cole, but appear to have serious interest in Rendon. On the pitching front, L.A. may also pivot to re-sign Hyun-Jin Ryu as a means of filling out their rotation.
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