Big news, though unsurprising news at that: MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that starter Stephen Strasburg has opted out of the remainder of his contract with the Nationals to become a free agent. Strasburg had four years and $100 million remaining of what was in total a seven-year, $175 million extension.
Strasburg, 31, led the National League with 18 wins and 209 innings pitched along with a 3.32 ERA and a 251/56 K/BB ratio during the regular season. He was even better in the postseason, going 5-0 with a 1.98 ERA and a 47/4 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings, helping the Nationals win a championship and earning World Series MVP honors in the process.
It’s fairly certain Strasburg will be able to find many more years and many more dollars in free agency, so opting out was a no-brainer. Now the rest of the league will be able to pursue his services. Fellow free agent starter Gerrit Cole will likely set the market, so don’t expect Strasburg to sign until after Cole does.
Worth noting: Both pitchers are represented by Scott Boras, who has advised his clients in the past to wait out the slow free agent market, even into February and March, in order to get the deals they deserve. That could very well be the case again with Cole and Strasburg.