Nationals retaining Strasburg could set off free agency dominoes

Washington Nationals have agreed a deal to re-sign starting pitcher and World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg, per Jon Heyman. Strasburg will receive over $240 million over a seven-year deal.

It has been expected that the Nationals will only retain one of Strasburg and Anthony Rendon. Of course, this isn’t confirmed, but this might be the biggest sign yet that the MVP candidate third baseman is heading elsewhere.

Strasburg enjoyed the best season of his MLB career in 2019, and was lights out in the postseason. Drafted first overall by the organisation, this likely makes him a National for the rest of his career. The emotional side of the move is obvious, but a contract of that length for a pitcher with a patchy injury history like his obviously carries a substantial risk.

An undoubted ace, Washington have one of the best rotations in baseball locked down for several years with Strasburg sticking between Patrick Corbin and Max Scherzer. How they construct a competitive line-up will be fascinating, as finding a way to replicate Rendon’s production will not be easy if he does end up leaving the capital.

The Philadelphia Phillies have made a big move by adding Zack Wheeler, and the Atlanta Braves have been one of the most active teams this winter so far. The Nationals aren’t under the same pressure as the others (winning World Series does that), but there’s no doubt they’re in for an almighty fight in the National League East once again. Keeping Strasburg will need to be the first of many if they are to go into Opening Day as division favourites.

Strasburg breaks the record for highest average annual value for a pitcher, a number that Gerrit Cole will be looking to go way past. Strasburg was one of the three most valuable players on the market this offseason – this deal could kickstart free agency as the Winter Meetings take place in San Diego.

Plenty of teams are still desperate for starting pitchers and may now turn to Hyun-Jin Ryu or Madison Bumgarner after missing out on Strasburg.

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About Sam Cox 467 Articles
Sam is a widely published freelance writer, covering basketball, baseball and a range of other sports. He's still trying to decide if he prefers a rundown shot block or a smooth double play.

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