According to multiple reports tonight, Washington’s World Series MVP, Stephen Strasburg, has decided to opt out of final four years of the the seven-year/$175M extension he signed with the Nationals in May of 2016.
Strasburg, 31, had $100M left on the deal, but had two opt outs included in the contract when he signed it, after both the 2019 and 2020 campaigns.
The 2009 No. 1 overall pick, who just wrapped up a dominant campaign in the nation’s capital, chose to opt out now.
After a (5-0) run in the World Series, in which he put up a 1.98 ERA, four walks, 47 Ks, and a .221/.239/.368 line against in six games, five starts, and 36 1⁄3 IP, Strasburg will head to free agency for the first time, after signing the extension with the Nationals just months before he was set to hit the market in 2016-17.
Nationals star and World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg plans to opt out of the final four years and $100M of his contract today and become a free agent, sources familiar with the situation tell ESPN.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 3, 2019
Overall in the regular season this year, Strasburg was (18-6) with a 3.32 ERA, a 3.25 FIP, 56 walks, 251 Ks, and a .210/.271/.349 line against in 33 starts and 209 IP.
He talked after the Nationals won the World Series, about what it took to get there, after he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2010, missed out on the organization’s first postseason run in 2012, and worked his way through a number of injuries over the past few years before putting together the season that he did as Washington won it all.
“Through all the adversity I think I’ve learned a lot about myself,” Strasburg said.
“When you have the ups and downs, I think you can learn just as much from the downs as you can the ups. And I think everything happens for a reason.
“I think I’ve really just become a stronger pitcher through all the adversity that I’ve had to go through.”
Strasburg’s agent, Scott Boras, talked after the extension with the Nationals was announced in 2016, about the opt-outs giving the right-hander an opportunity to continue to develop in Washington, while providing him with the, “right to look into the free agent world,” at a later date.
”The other thing is we have the economics of the game, which are dramatically changing,” Boras added, “so to have him have the ability to look at that not only in one year but in two was a very important part of that contract.”
Coming off the season that he just had, with the resume he’s built up, there’s likely to be a deal worth more than 4-years/$100M out there, whether it’s from the Nationals or another team looking to add an arm to the top of their rotation.
In other roster moves tonight, some expected, one something of a surprise, the Nationals declined options on Yan Gomes ($9M) and Ryan Zimmerman ($18M), buying each out for $1M and $2M, respectively, though reports throughout the year and again tonight suggest that both Zimmerman and the Nats are interested in another deal, “on a lower AAV” as the MLB Network’s Jon Heyman tonight put it in a tweet on the move.
In addition to those decisions tonight, the Nationals reportedly picked up Sean Doolittle’s option for 2020 ($6.5M).
All of these moves, of course, come just hours after the Nationals celebrated their World Series championship, the first by a D.C.-based MLB team since 1924, with a parade in the nation’s capital. It’s on to the 2020 season already...
Can confirm that the Nationals have declined their club option for catcher Yan Gomes and picked up Sean Doolittle's $6.5 million option for 2020.— Jesse Dougherty (@dougherty_jesse) November 3, 2019