Well, this report certainly made fans turn their head.
According to MLB insider Jon Morosi, there is now an expectation that Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg will opt out of his contract following the 2019 season, which didn’t seem likely following his injury-shortened 2018.
While one source made clear Strasburg has not made any firm decisions about his future, there’s increasing speculation in the industry that he will opt out of the remaining four years and $100 million left on his contract with the Nationals — or at least leverage that possibility into getting a new, larger contract.
Strasburg is expected to review his options after the season with his agent, Scott Boras. One central question is whether Strasburg, if he were a free agent, could top the $25 million average annual value on his current contract.
So, there’s a chance Strasburg opts out only to sign a bigger deal with the Nationals, just like what Clayton Kershaw did with the Dodgers. But we’re talking about a Scott Boras client and the possibility of Strasburg hitting free agency this offseason might shake up the entire market.
Strasburg, 31, has a 3.47 ERA in 28 starts this season a year after suffering a couple injuries and making only 22 starts for the Nationals. He signed a seven year, $175 million contract, but maybe he’s motivated to seek a new contract because $70 million of that is deferred with $10 million payments from 2024-30.
If Strasburg does become a free agent, then his main competition in the market will be Gerrit Cole, who is also represented by Scott Boras. The super agent also represents the top free agent position player this offseason in Anthony Rendon.
The Cubs and White Sox have already been rumored to be interested in pursuing Cole this offseason. Things could get a lot more interesting if Strasburg becomes available too and Boras is going to be pulling all the strings.
Get ready for another long offseason in MLB.