The Washington Nationals have addressed one of their primary concerns this offseason, re-signing pitcher Stephen Strasburg after the World Series MVP had opted out of the final four years of his extension, the team announced Monday afternoon.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported the contract was for seven years and $245 million, a significantly higher guarantee than the four-year, $100 million extension that Strasburg opted out of. The new contract would put him under Nationals control through 2026.
The deal breaks the previous record for both the most total money (David Price, $217 million) and most average annual value (Zack Greinke, $34.4 million/year) ever given to a pitcher.
While USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports that $80 million of the money is deferred, the Wall Street Journal’s Jared Diamond reports that the deferrals include interest, meaning the net present value is not impacted.
Strasburg, 31, was the first overall pick in the 2009 MLB Draft and has only ever played in the Nationals’ organization. He’s coming off a 2019 that saw him set career highs in wins (18), strikeouts (251) and innings pitched (209), as well as a tremendous postseason that culminated with a World Series trophy and the series MVP Award.
He was 18-6 with a 3.32 ERA this season, topping 30 starts for the second time in his career and leading the NL with 209 innings. He went 5-0 with a 1.98 ERA in five postseason starts and one relief appearance, including wins in Games 2 and 6 of the World Series against Houston.
In a career interrupted by Tommy John surgery shortly after his spectacular major league debut in 2010, Strasburg is 112-58 with a 3.17 ERA and 1,695 strikeouts in parts of 10 seasons. He’s made 10 trips to the disabled list over seven of those years.
Strasburg’s average annual value is second among all players behind outfielder Mike Trout’s $35.5 million in a $426.5 million, 12-year contract with the Los Angeles Angels that started last season. Strasburg’s deal also sets a floor for free agent pitcher Gerrit Cole, who also is represented by agent Scott Boras and is expected to top the records Strasburg just set.
Washington has invested heavily in starting pitching. Scherzer, also a Boras client, agreed to a $210 million, seven-year contract before the 2015 season. Corbin reached a $140 million, six-year deal last offseason.
All-Star third baseman Anthony Rendon, another key component of the Nationals’ title, also is a free agent represented by Boras.
WTOP’s Noah Frank reported from the Winter Meetings in San Diego. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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