As Brett pointed out earlier today – when the Cubs made two decisions of their own (Jose Quintana and Derek Holland) – Monday is the deadline for teams and players to exercise contract options for next year.
And one of the most talented players holding an option of his own, Stephen Strasburg, apparently does intend to opt-out:
Like Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg made himself an extraordinary amount of money this season. Between his NL-leading 209 innings and his incredible playoff performance, Strasburg looking at a deal that exceeds his original $175M contract with the Nationals. That’s the floor.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 3, 2019
After a brilliant 2019 campaign (3.32 ERA, 5.7 WAR, 209.0 IP), Strasburg, 31, has been widely expected to opt out of the remaining four years and $100M remaining on his contract, but a killer postseason (1.46 ERA over 55.1 IP) probably helped push him over the edge.
- 2020: $25M
- 2021: $15M
- 2022: $15M
- 2023: $45M
*Via Cots: “$70M deferred without interest ($30M in 2019, $10M in 2020, $30M in 2023), paid in seven $10M installments each July 1, 2024-30, reducing the contract’s present-day value to about $162M.
Unfortunatly, if you were hoping Strasburg could be the Cubs’ cheaper free agent alternative to Gerrit Cole, you may be sad to re-read Passan’s second tweet there. Strasburg is apparently “look at a deal” (probably should’ve been worded as “looking for a deal”) that exceeds his original $175M contract with the Nationals.
At his age, with his injury history, and with Gerrit Cole also on the market, I tend to doubt it takes that much to get him – plus, that original contract came with some big-time deferrals, making it worth $162M, according to Cots. But, hey, that’s what he’s looking for.
Once upon a time, the Cubs were connected to Strasburg via rumors, but that was before he extended with the Nationals. And at that price tag – regardless of how good he’d look in Cubbie blue – I find it hard to see the Cubs getting involved. Again, that’s not to say they shouldn’t be involved – with Cole Hamels leaving, Jon Lester nearing the end of his contract, and Jose Quintana/Tyler Chatwood not living up to expectations (relatively speaking), they could use all the rotation help they can get – but I’m just not sure that they will be.
In any case, we’ll have time to discuss that later. For now, it looks like step one, opting out, will actually happen.