World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg will opt-out of his contract with the Washington Nationals, according to a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan. He is set to become a free agent, assuming the Nationals and Strasburg do not come to an agreement for a more lucrative extension in the coming days. If that isn’t the case, the Phillies will surely be in the mix to ink the former number one overall pick.
When Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo and the Boras Corporation began finalizing Strasburg’s seven-year, 175 million-dollar contract in May 2016, the two sides could have never anticipated that the predetermined deadline of Nov 2 at 12 p.m. would coincide with the team’s 2 p.m World Series parade down Constitution Avenue. The decision was announced after the celebration and the deadline was most likely formally extended to today. With the opt-out, the 31-year-old is forfeiting the remaining 4-years, $100 million left on his initial contract extension.
The belief among many around baseball is that Strasburg will remain with the Nationals for the foreseeable future. During a September radio interview on 106.7 The Fan, Rizzo said he is “confident that he’ll be a National.” Back in 2016, Strasburg made it known to Scott Boras that he was happy to stay in D.C. and preferred to negotiate an extension during his last year of team control rather than wait to test the market in the offseason.
In the case that Strasburg uses the opt-out to listen to offers around the league, Matt Klentak and the front office will face steep competition for the Nationals all-time leader in strikeouts. Teams such as the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Angeles and Strasburg’s hometown San Diego Padres and more could be in contention with the Phillies.Embed from Getty Images
Coming into the 2019 season, few would have expected that Strasburg would opt-out come November. He was serviceable in 2018, going 10-7 with a 3.74 ERA but pitched only 130 innings as his season was shortened after back-to-back trips to the injured list. Strasburg followed up with one of the best regular seasons of his career, posting career highs in wins (18) and strikeouts (251). He took his game to another level in the postseason, going 5-0 with a 1.46 ERA with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 8.88. His eight and a third inning gem in game six against the Astros earned him a World Series MVP nod.
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