After only 40 days of the MLB free agency period, the Washington Nationals and Stephen Strasburg have agreed to a seven year, $245 million deal, as reported by MLB insider, Jeff Passan. Last year’s World Series MVP will become the highest-paid pitcher in Major League history beating out Zack Grienke, who makes around $31 million a year.
Though the specifics of the deal have not yet been made public, we know that Strasburg will make $35 million a year on average, the most of any current player in the MLB. $80 million dollars of the total contract will be deferred, a common trait of many Nationals’ contracts. He also will receive a no-trade clause and will be without an opt-out option later in the contract. This may soon be overshadowed by former Astros pitcher Gerrit Cole, but for now, Stars has the highest AAV of any MLB player.
Strasburg went 18-6 with a 3.32 ERA and 6.3 WAR for the Nats in 2019. He finished fifth in Cy Young voting, 15th in MVP, and was the World Series MVP. Strasburg had a historic postseason run with the team, going 2-0 with a 2.51 ERA in the World Series as well as a win in each of the three series before. The 31-year-old has been a National since 2009 when he was drafted first overall by the club.
At the start of the free agency period, Strasburg opted out of his four year, $100 million a year deal in favor of leaving for free agency. Teams that had reportedly shown interest in Strasburg were the Angels, Padres, and Phillies.
This deal is obviously a huge win for the Nationals, but what does it mean for the Rendon sweepstakes? Rendon has been heavily linked to the Dodgers, Phillies, and Rangers, and he grew up in Texas. Rendon’s agent, Scott Boras, who also represents Strasburg has said that Rendon wants a seven year deal. The Nats have already offered a seven year, $215 million deal for Rendon at the start of free agency, which was rejected. Nats President Mark Lerner has said that he doesn’t believe the Nats can afford both Strasburg and Rendon. Time will tell what will happen to Rendon, but for now, Nats fans can celebrate over Strasburg coming back.