WASHINGTON -- Right-hander Stephen Strasburg will be with the Nationals for the long term, agreeing to a seven-year deal that according to a source is worth $175 million. The team announced the extension on Tuesday."Ensuring that Stephen will remain a part of our organization for years to come is a
WASHINGTON -- Right-hander Stephen Strasburg will be with the Nationals for the long term, agreeing to a seven-year deal that according to a source is worth $175 million. The team announced the extension on Tuesday.
"Ensuring that Stephen will remain a part of our organization for years to come is a proud moment for our entire family," managing principal owner Ted Lerner said. "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."
News of the deal broke while Strasburg was on the mound at Nationals Park on Monday night. He pitched seven-plus innings, taking a no-decision in a 5-4 walk-off victory against the Tigers, and he declined to talk about the contract after the game.
"I'm just focusing on this game and stuff like that," Strasburg said. "All that stuff is going to work itself out eventually. I'm really excited for the way the guys played behind me tonight, picked me up in the end."
A source told MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi that Strasburg can opt out of the deal after the third or fourth year, which would allow Strasburg to become a free agent at age 31 or 32.
"I am delighted to ensure that Stephen is going to remain an important part of the Washington Nationals," president of baseball operations and general manager Mike 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."
Morosi: Strasburg extension has ripple effect
Strasburg, 27, could have been a free agent after this season, and he would have been one of the most compelling players on the market. He is off to an outstanding start, going 5-0 with a 2.76 ERA after allowing four runs on Monday. Strasburg has spent his entire seven-year Major League career with the Nationals, going 59-37 with a 3.06 ERA through 139 career starts.
Strasburg has made more than 30 starts once in his career. He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2010, missing almost all of the '11 season, and he was limited in '12 as he came back from the operation. Strasburg spent time on the disabled list due to injuries in '13 and '15. In his one uninterrupted season, he started 34 games in '14, posting a 3.14 ERA with 242 strikeouts.
Strasburg talked about how much he loves playing in the nation's capital.
"Growing up in Southern California, San Diego, all my life, the East Coast is a little bit of a change," he said. "But the city of D.C. has been great to me and my family. It has really grown on us. We are very comfortable here."
During Spring Training, Rizzo sounded like someone who wanted to sign Strasburg and outfielder Bryce Harper to long-term deals, though Harper won't be eligible for free agency until after the 2018 season.
"They are two core guys that we are proud of," Rizzo said at the time. "We scouted, signed and watched them develop into All-Star players. They are big parts of this team. We would certainly like to lock them up and be Nats for a long time."
Harper said Strasburg deserved the new deal, noting how dominating he was during the second half of the 2015 season after missing much of the first half due to injuries.
"He came back healthy, did everything he had to do in the second half," Harper said. "He really worked his tail off in Spring Training this year and did the things he needed to do to get ready, and I think everybody can see he put it together as you can tell. The start that he's having, it's incredible, in the box and on the mound. It's a lot of fun to watch and we're excited to have him around."
Strasburg was the No. 1 overall Draft pick out of San Diego State in 2009, and he rose quickly through the Nationals' system, reaching the Major Leagues the following year. He struck out 14 in a brilliant performance in his big league debut, but he made only 12 starts before requiring surgery. Strasburg pitched extremely well in a brief return in '11, as well as in '12 before being shut down late in the year in an attempt to preserve his health.
Strasburg is represented by agent Scott Boras, and while it's unusual for a Boras client to sign a long-term deal before hitting the free-agent market, it's not unprecedented. Kyle Lohse, Jered Weaver and Greg Maddux are among those who have done so over the years.
Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats.