In a move that shocked baseball today, the Washington Nationals signed RHP Stephen Strasburg to a seven year option laden extension worth a reported $175 million dollars. The deal was first reported on Twitter by Washington Post Nats beat writer Chelsea Janes and Jon Heyman.
Strasburg has a rolling opt-out after Year 3 or 4, plus can earn an additional $7 million in performance bonuses — $1 million a year if he tops 180 innings.
This is a huge contract for a pitcher coming off of Tommy John surgery and a history of inconsistent performances. His talent level, however, is undeniable and he has been as good as any pitcher in baseball this season, 5-0 with a 2.36 ERA and 47 strikeouts in 42 innings. While he may not be the “ace” on his own team (some people may consider Max Scherzer the number one on the Nationals staff), he is by no means a lesser pitcher. Consider Strasburg 1A or an incredibly strong number two.
Strasburg was to be the most highly coveted free agent of 2017, and with this contract extension it throws the entire free agent pitcher market into a tailspin.