According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, and confirmed by several others, free agent righty Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals have agreed to a big contract.
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
7 years and $245M? Yeah, that’s big. The deal includes a full no-trade clause, but also $80M in deferred payments, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
The #Nats are deferring more than $80 million of Strasburg's $245 million contract.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 9, 2019
Strasburg — who opted out of 4 years and $100M with Washington — re-ups with the defending World Champs on a record-setting deal for a pitcher. The contract shatters Zack Greinke’s 6 year, $206.5M deal inked with Arizona in December 2015 for a right-hander, and David Price’s 7 year, $217M deal with Boston overall.
With Stras off the market, focus turns to free agent ace Gerrit Cole. Cole, 29, is two years younger than Strasburg and is widely considered the prize player of the off-season. Reports have Cole with a similar contract offer in hand from the New York Yankees, but speculation now has the righty pushing at or near $300M over 7 or 8 seasons.
Source: Gerrit Cole is increasingly likely to sign during this week’s winter meetings. His market is developing quickly, the source said, with the Strasburg signing giving further clarity. @MLBNetwork @MLB
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 9, 2019
After huge money went to former Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler (5 year, $118M), the signal was sent that this off-season would be a lucrative one for high level free agent players. With players like Cole Hamels and Kyle Gibson off the market as well, the best pitchers left beyond Cole are Hyun-Jin Ryu and Madison Bumgarner.
Yesterday Jon Heyman reported that the Dodgers are still interested in the free agent Ryu. After this Strasburg deal and open market projections for Gerrit Cole, LA may have little choice but to re-up with the Korean-born lefty. Of course, picking up a Cy Young runner up is hardly a big miss.