We are barely a few days past the end of the 2019 season, and there is already big news.
Nationals star and World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg plans to opt out of the final four years and $100M of his contract today and become a free agent, sources familiar with the situation tell ESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 3, 2019
Yes, you can add another name to the list of premier free agents after Stephen Strasburg opted out of the final four years and $100M of his deal with the Washington Nationals. Moreover, Strasburg opts out on the same day that Washington celebrated it’s World Series triumph with a parade.
Strasburg Looking For A Retirement Contract
Four years and $100M is nothing to sneeze at. However, the average annual value is probably not the goal for Strasburg. Sure — coming off of a World Series victory in which he earned Most Valuable Player honors — his value has never been higher, but an important factor here is age. Stephen Strasburg is 31 years old, so by the end of his current contract he would be 35 years old. A 35 year-old starting pitcher is not likely to get a big money deal for multiple years.
Expectations are that the right-hander is likely looking for a contract in the neighborhood of 6-8 years on the free agent market.
Taking A Trip, Or Staying Put?
Sources are saying he may be willing to stay in Washington on a re-worked contract, and this seems like a good possibility. The Nationals front office have shown a willingness to pay, and after a World Series victory — with his value at his highest — it seems likely that the Nats would at least offer a max contract.
However with Scott Boras as his agent, people may feel like his escape is imminent. Mike Rizzo, GM of the Nationals, has dealt with Boras many times, so it’s certainly possible or even likely that Strasburg could stay.
Would He Consider LA?
While Gerrit Cole remains the biggest name on the free agent market, Strasburg opting out undoubtedly changes the market.
With Stras, there is probably no way he ends up with the Dodgers. The Los Angeles front office hasn’t shown a ton of willingness to give long contracts, especially to Boras clients. The sad part of this is that the Dodgers would most certainly jump to World Series favorites with Strasburg as their number 1 or 2. The Washington Nationals proved this postseason that elite starting pitching can win a championship.