My God. This market is nuts. And that’s fun.
Among the major free agents, this was probably one of the more predictable pairings, given how he reached free agency in the first place.
Stephen Strasburg, a lifetime Washington National, reached free agency by virtue of an opt-out that many presumed would be used only as a mechanism to get a little more money and/or a few more years tacked onto his deal. There were no indications he was actually looking to leave Washington – he just, understandably, wanted to take the opportunity to see what’s out there.
And what was out there was a market so desiring of his arm that the Nationals had to GO FREAKING BONKERS to retain him:
Stephen Strasburg’s deal with the Washington Nationals is for seven years and $245 million, a source tells ESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 9, 2019
It’s the Nationals, so the obligatory note there is that so much of that is probably deferred until the next century. But still, that’s an enormous payday for a guy who’ll turn 32 next year and has had just one season over 175.1 innings in the last six years. It is a contract that absolutely shatters the previous record for pitchers – both in AAV and total value – and sets up a borderline hilarious payday for Gerrit Cole.
That signals a further escalation in the market for tip-top players, and maybe even signals some truth to the rumors that teams are expecting the luxury tax to either go away or change in some very fundamental way in the post-2021 CBA.
With that deal done, you can generally presume the Nationals will be out on Anthony Rendon, and you can then do some trade market mental gymnastics from there. I’m not so sure they’d be aggressive on Kris Bryant at this point anyway, so the market impact there is probably a slight net negative to the Cubs’ trade market, but I mean, we’re doing so much extrapolating at that point that I’m just gonna leave it there.
Mostly, the news here is that the market for top free agents is just exploding.
UPDATE: A little bonus holy crap:
Was told the deferrals in Stephen Strasburg record $245 million contract are with interest, meaning the net present value of the deal isn't impacted.
— Jared Diamond (@jareddiamond) December 9, 2019