Strasburg, Nationals agree to contract worth $175 million

Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals Friday, April 29, 2016, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

WASHINGTON (AP) – A person familiar with the negotiations says that Stephen Strasburg has agreed to a new contract with the Washington Nationals that will pay the pitcher $175 million over seven seasons starting in 2017.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Monday night – while Strasburg was pitching against the Detroit Tigers – because the Nationals had not announced the deal.

Strasburg would have been eligible for free agency for the first time after this season. Instead, he stays with the team that drafted him No. 1 overall in 2009 and shut him down before the playoffs in 2012 to protect his surgically repaired right elbow.

He will go from making $7.4 million this season to earning $25 million annually from 2017-23. The total dollars added equal the sixth-highest in a deal for a major league pitcher. He can opt out and become a free agent after 2019 or 2020.

Strasburg would earn a $1 million performance bonus each year for pitching 180 innings.


The following is additional information directly from the Washington Nationals:

The Washington Nationals agreed to a seven-year contract extension with right-handed pitcher Stephen Strasburg on Tuesday. Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcement.


One of the premier starting pitchers in the Major Leagues, Strasburg will remain under contract with the only professional organization he has ever known through the 2023 season. The No. 1 overall selection in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, Strasburg has a career 59-37 record with a 3.07 ERA. An All-Star (2012), as well as a Silver Slugger (2012), Strasburg is currently 5-0 with a 2.76 ERA this season – the 12th-best mark in the National League.


“Ensuring that Stephen will remain a part of our organization for years to come is a proud moment for our entire family,” said Nationals Managing Principal Owner Theodore N. Lerner. “We are very fond of Stephen and his entire family, and we’ve thought very highly of them since he became such an integral part of our organization almost seven years ago. We’re honored that he feels the same way about the Washington Nationals, and very happy to keep him pitching in the nation’s capital.”


Since his Major League debut on June 8, 2010, no one in the Major Leagues has struck out more batters per nine innings (min. 800 IP) than the Nationals’ right-hander. Strasburg’s career 10.45 strikeouts-per-nine-innings in that time span sits atop a list that follows with Chicago White Sox left-hander Chris Sale (10.20), teammate Max Scherzer (9.94) and Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw (9.89). Strasburg also ranks second all-time among starters with at least 800 IP in K/9.0 IP, behind Hall of Famer Randy Johnson (10.57).


“I am delighted to ensure that Stephen is going to remain an important part of the Washington Nationals,” Rizzo said. “From the moment he was drafted, Stephen has been far more than just a pitcher for our organization, and his talent is transcendent; the numbers speak for themselves. Needless to say I am thrilled we’ll continue to have him as a part of our family on the field and in the community, and looking forward to seeing him on the mound for us every five days for the foreseeable future.”


Arriving in the Major Leagues with an electric debut that was certainly among the most anticipated in Washington baseball history, Strasburg has continued to deliver on his exceptional promise throughout the first five-plus season of his Major League career. While helping lead the Nationals to two National League East division titles in the previous four seasons (2012, 2014), Strasburg has solidified his place among the best in the game. Since he entered the league in 2010, among pitchers with at least 800 innings under their belts, Strasburg ranks in the top 10 in fielding independent pitching (2nd, 2.80), strikeout-to-walk ratio (3rd, 4.70), opponent on-base percentage (4th, .280), opponent batting average (4th, .227), opponent slugging percentage (5th, .348), hits per nine innings (5th, 7.58), and ERA (7th, 3.07).


A 2012 All-Star and Silver Slugger Award winner, Strasburg finished ninth in the 2014 National League Cy Young voting. The National League Player of the Week for the week of Sept. 21, 2015, Strasburg was also the National League Pitcher of the Month in April, 2012, the NL Player of the Week for the week of June 14, 2010 and was named a member of the Topps Rookie All-Star Team in 2010.


The contract extension is just the latest commitment the Nationals have made to set their starting rotation. Before the 2015 season, the Nationals signed Scherzer to a seven-year contract as well, and Strasburg will now continue to join him atop the team’s rotation, helping to guide a staff that also currently includes left-hander Gio Gonzalez, right-hander Tanner Roark, and right-hander Joe Ross.

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