Washington Nationals

Stephen Strasburg signs record deal to stay with the Nationals

Starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg and the World Series champion Washington Nationals have agreed to a seven-year contract, according to multiple reports.

Stephen Strasburg has a rich new contract to go along with his World Series MVP trophy.

Strasburg is staying with the Washington Nationals, agreeing to a seven-year, $245 million contract with the reigning champions on Monday, a deal first reported by ESPN’s Jeff Passan. Strasburg has pitched his entire 10-year career in the nation’s capital after being selected first overall in 2009, compiling a record of 112-58 with a 3.17 ERA in 239 starts.

With the bidding for Gerrit Cole still going on, the new deal makes Strasburg the second-highest paid pitcher in baseball – for the moment – with an annual salary of $35 million. That’s behind only teammate Max Scherzer and tied with the Houston Astros’ Zack Greinke. It’s also the largest contract ever handed out to a pitcher, surpassing the $217 million contract the Red Sox gave David Price in 2016.

The 31-year-old Strasburg is coming off a 2019 season in which he led the National League with in wins (18) and innings pitched (209). Since 2012, he has the 12th-lowest ERA among pitchers with at least 100 starts. His 10.6 strikeouts per nine innings are fifth during that span, behind only Scherzer, Yu Darvish, Chris Sale, and Robbie Ray.

But it’s in the postseason where Strasburg has made the biggest impact. His career postseason ERA of 1.46 is the lowest in the divisional era among starters with at least 40 innings. He also has the highest strikeout rate (32.6 percent) in history among starting pitchers.

When the Nationals fell behind the Astros 3-2 in the World Series in October, heading back to Houston for Game 6, they turned to Strasburg to save their season. Strasburg responded by going 8.1 innings, giving up five hits and holding the Astros off the scoreboard after the first inning. He twice beat AL Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander in the Fall Classic and gave up four runs in 14.1 innings on his way to earning World Series MVP as the Nationals came back to win the series.

Strasburg was due to earn $25 million in 2020 before opting out of his contract following the World Series. His new deal, though, likely means the end of Anthony Rendon’s time in Washington. Nationals owner Mark Lerner said last week that the team couldn’t afford to sign both of their stars and stay under the luxury tax threshold of $208 million. The team already had nearly $173 million in salary locked up for 2020 even before the deal with the Strasburg.

The deal is also good news for Cole, who received an offer from the New York Yankees for the same terms as Strasburg agreed to. But that was only a preliminary offer, and now that Cole and his agent Scott Boras know how high teams are willing to go to sign a staff ace, his eventual deal should approach if not exceed the $300 million barrier.

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