- Stephen Strasburg can opt out of his contract with the Washington Nationals this offseason
- Strasburg was recently named the World Series MVP
- The odds favor him returning to the nation’s capital, but the Yankees aren’t too far behind
The Washington Nations just won the World Series, but for all 30 teams in the league, attention has already shifted to the offseason. One of the Nats’ prized possessions – World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg – could be a hot commodity on the open market.
The 31-year-old righty can opt out of his current contract (which would pay him $100 million over the next four years) and become a free agent. In light of his age and his phenomenal 2019 season, which team is the best bet to have him on their roster in 2020?
Odds on Stephen Strasburg’s Team for Game 1 of 2020
|New York Yankees||+300|
|Boston Red Sox||+500|
|Los Angeles Angels||+700|
|San Diego Padres||+1000|
Odds taken Nov. 1.
Strasburg Can Opt Out To Become A Free Agent
Strasburg will have a big decision to make in the coming weeks but it seems like the answer will be quite obvious. Yes, $100 million is a lot of money, but considering his recent accomplishments, he’s likely to command more on the open market.
Strasburg is fresh off a postseason where he posted a 0.94 WHIP and a 1.98 ERA. He had six outings in the playoffs and the team won every time he pitched. In terms of the regular season, he led the National League in innings pitched and strikeouts, quieting some of the durability concerns people have.
Stephen Strasburg on Pitch Tipping. pic.twitter.com/F9rxZAr2Vo
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 30, 2019
With these types of numbers, somebody is going to pony up more than the $25 million that he currently has in his grasp. Pitching is at a premium these days and given what general manager just saw out of him, he’s going to get a big payday.
Will The Nationals Keep Him?
The Nats are in a tough spot as they already have Max Scherzer on the payroll and he’s set to make over $35 million next season. They also have Patrick Corbin in the rotation, who signed for $140 million last offseason.
Do the Nats really want to give Strasburg another $30 million? Can they even afford it?
Remember that Washington still has Anibal Sanchez in the rotation, so they might feel like a trio of Scherzer-Corbin-Sanchez is good enough to compete next season.
At the same time, remember that the Nats also have to worry about free-agent third baseman Anthony Rendon. Re-signing Rendon might cost them $25-$30 million a year. Can they afford both?
Yankees, Red Sox Favored To Land Strasburg
The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox are favored to be the ones to sign Strasburg if he does leave. Both teams have stacked batting orders, but fell short in terms of starting pitching this past season.
As we saw with the Yankees, they simply didn’t have the horses to matchup with guys like Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole when they faced the Houston Astros. As for the Red Sox, they’ve seen Chris Sale and Rick Porcello deteriorate, so they could use reinforcements.
The other factor here is that Strasburg will be 32 in July. That might turn off a lot of teams because he’ll be asking for plenty of money and plenty of years, but these two franchises have the type of coin that they won’t really worry about the cost – assuming they believe he’s the right fit.
What’s The Best Bet?
I actually like the San Diego Padres as the best landing spot for Strasburg. He grew up in the San Diego suburbs and played college baseball near San Diego State. San Diego is a great place to live and Petco Park is very friendly to pitchers.
Beyond that, while this team might be a year or two away, they have a fantastic young core and a solid rotation with Chris Paddack, Joey Lucchesi, and up-and-coming prospect MacKenzie Gore. I think they have the money to spend and at +700, I see them as being a more realistic landing spot than the Nats or anyone else.