RUMOR: Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg likely to opt-out after another spectacular postseason
The Washington Nationals would not be on the precipice of their first World Series title in franchise history if not for the brilliance of Stephen Strasburg.
From making a key relief appearance during the National League Wild Card Game to a pair of crucial starts against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS, Strasburg has been at the top of his game in October.
According to MLB.com writer Anthony Castrovince, Strasburg’s performance has all but cinched the notion that he will opt-out of the remaining four years and $100 million remaining on his current deal:
If there was any doubt going into October that turning down nine figures in order to explore the open market is the right business decision for Strasburg, it has been totally erased by his postseason performance. Strasburg has a 1.64 ERA and .568 opponents’ OPS in 22 innings this month. And while that won’t earn him Gerrit Cole money, it does up the ante in an industry that still puts a high price tag on elite starting pitching.
Castrovince also notes that Strasburg may be enticed at the possibility of returning home to California, given that both the Padres and Angels could pursue high-end starting pitchers in free agency:
Knowing what we do about the 31-year-old Strasburg’s personality, it wouldn’t be at all surprising if his first preference is to use the opt-out as leverage to renegotiate a longer and/or more lucrative deal with Washington, a place where he is comfortable and familiar. But we also know that his hometown team, the Padres, and another Southern California squad, the Angels, are good candidates to splurge on pitching this offseason, which only improves Strasburg’s leverage.
Strasburg has been one of the most dominant postseason pitchers of this generation. The right-hander has a 1.10 ERA and 12.5 K/9 in 41 innings of work during the playoffs.
He also became one of just two pitchers (joining Bob Gibson) to post a pair of playoff starts with at least 12 Ks and 0 ERs.