Washington Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg just got a massive deal.
Just a day after being swept by the Chicago Cubs, the Nationals signed the 27-year-old Strasburg to a huge contract extension. The deal is for seven years and $175-million, per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.
strasburg deal is $175M, 7 years. #nats
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) May 10, 2016
Heyman also reported that the extension will include deferrals and opt-outs, while FOX Sports Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the opt-out will be either the third or fourth year of the seven-year deal.
Source: Strasburg deal includes opt-out after year three or four.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) May 10, 2016
After a huge off-season where pitchers got paid left and right, the Nationals lock up Strasburg, who was set to become a free agent, for essentially $25 million a season. In seven seasons in the majors, the San Diego State product posted a 59-37 record including a strikeout rate of 10.4 batters per nine frames, not to mention a 3.06 ERA. Strasburg was the first overall pick coming out of college in 2009 and would go on to make his MLB debut just a year later in 2010.
Ironically, this contract was agreed to on the late Tony Gwynn’s birthday. Gwynn, the ex-Padre Hall of Famer, was Strasburg’s manager at San Diego State where he achieved success again and again. Strasburg wasn’t a lock to make the Aztecs roster his freshman year, as he came in extremely overweight. Gwynn used him primarily as a reliver in his freshman season before eventually becoming the Aztecs closer and eventually winning the Mountain West Conference Co-Freshman Player of the Year.
Strasburg would be a starter his sophomore and junior year, and he posted a 13-1 record with a 1.32 ERA in his junior season at San Diego State, including his first career no-hitter in his final home start on May 8, 2009. Strasburg was awarded National Pitcher of the Year and also struck out 195 batters in just 109 innings.
Strasburg got called up in 2010 to make his debut, but would only stick around for a while before heading to the disabled list in July with an inflamed right shoulder. After that, things never got eaier for Strasburg as he would undergo Tommy John Surgery after the Nationals announced that he had a torn ulnar collateral ligament in late-August. Strasburg wouldn’t return to the majors until September of 2011 as he recovered from that Tommy John surgery. Strasburg’s contract is the largest ever for a pitcher who has had Tommy John surgery prior to signing.
2015 wasn’t the best for Strasburg either, as he battled through injuries all year long. The right-hander would throw just 127 innings in 23 games, compiling an 11-7 record with a 3.46 ERA. So far in 2016 Strasburg has had success, and the Nationals wanted nothing more than to sign him to an extension as he was due to become a free agent after the season ended.
Strasburg is 5-0 in 2016 with a 2.36 ERA in 42 innings pitcher prior to Monday’s start. Strasburg is taking the mound on Monday against the Detroit Tigers and will look to show everybody that he’s worth every penny the Nationals are paying him. With Strasburg signed to a long-term extension, the 1-2 punch of Scherzer and Strasburg will be a force to reckon with in the National League for years to come.
ATLANTA, GA – OCTOBER 01: Starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg #37 of the Washington Nationals throws a pitch to a Atlanta Braves batter in the sixth inning during a MLB baseball game at Turner Field on October 1, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Washington Nationals/Getty Images)