NBC Sports Washington
Stephen Strasburg signed a 7-year contract with the Washington Nationals worth $245 million on December 9 during the Winter Meetings in San Diego.
Although Gerrit Cole, who signed with the New York Yankees, was the big prize in the free-agent market this offseason, Strasburg was right behind him.
Strasburg had another great season, capped off by a World Series MVP in October when he and the Nationals won their first World Series title in franchise history.
The former San Diego State pitcher was one of the mysteries in free agency because there were multiple teams that met with him and his agent, Scott Boras, but it seemed like he wanted to return to Washington D.C. from the beginning of his free agency.
During the press conference that was held in San Diego, Boras mentioned that the comfort level with the Nationals was an important factor in returning to Washington.
“To establish a legacy and wear the curly W for his career was something that was very important to him,” Boras said during the press conference. “And I think it was because he knew that people in this organization cared deeply about him and always cared about his interests and the interests of his family.”
Stephen Strasburg stayed with his team because he knew that they care about his overall health and they care about his future. In 2012 when the Washington Nationals made the postseason, GM Mike Rizzo shut Strasburg down because he wanted to protect his arm after he just had Tommy John. The Nationals would end up losing in five games in the NLDS. Rizzo has said that it was not a popular decision at the time, but it paid off in the long run.
Strasburg opted out of his 4-year contract worth $100 million days after the Nationals won the World Series. Some people believed that he would get a little less than $200 million, but he ended up turning $100 million into $245 million. Essentially he added three years for $145 million, which is unbelievable considering the number of suitors he had.
Now, the Nationals will turn their attention to trying to re-sign Anthony Rendon to keep the majority of their championship team together. Despite owner Mark Lerner saying recently that they can only keep one of Strasburg and Rendon, but Mike Rizzo thinks otherwise.
“Well, when you look at those comments, and then you look at the structure of this particular deal and the structure of deals we’ve had getting up to where we are right now, I think Mark realizes there are ways to fit players in, there are ways you can field a championship-caliber roster. And again, the resources have always been there, so I don’t expect that to change,” Rizzo said on Monday.
Regardless of if the Washington Nationals can retain Anthony Rendon, they will be in contention for many years to come because they were able to keep one of the best pitchers in the game, Stephen Strasburg.