Stephen Strasburg, Nationals Agree on New Contract: Latest Details, Reaction

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist

Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg (37) delivers a pitch against the Philadelphia Phillies during the first inning of a baseball game, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

The Washington Nationals and starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg have agreed to a seven-year contract extension, the team confirmed Tuesday.

Nationals owner Theodore N. Lerner spoke about the contract in a statement, via Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post:

Ensuring that Stephen will remain a part of our organization for years to come is a proud moment for our entire family. 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.

Mark Zuckerman of MASN also shared a statement from Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo:

On Monday, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post cited "a person familiar with the situation" when first reporting a "significant long-term extension."

Jon Heyman of MLB Network confirmed the deal was for seven years and $175 million.

ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney provided further specifics on Strasburg's massive deal, which includes some flexibility and doesn't necessarily restrict him to the Nationals for seven years:

Strasburg's deal includes a "limited" no-trade clause that will begin in 2017, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. 

Spotrac outlined where Strasburg's massive payday ranks among his highest-paid contemporaries:

So Washington could've broken the bank even more for Strasburg, considering the number of pitchers in baseball who command greater salaries. Overall, though, the contract seems fair for both sides in light of the up-and-down tenure Strasburg has had in the nation's capital.

It's been a long and winding road for Strasburg and the Nationals. When healthy, he's been one of the most dominant pitchers in all of baseball. He's dealt with numerous injury issues throughout his career, however, which added some uncertainty to the equation as his free agency neared.

The 27-year-old San Diego State product came into 2016 with a 3.09 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and an eye-popping 901 strikeouts in 776.2 innings across 132 career starts. Thus far, he has a 5-0 record, 2.36 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 47 strikeouts in 42 innings this season.

Despite how good Strasburg can be when on the mound, his injury history must be considered a concern.

The right-hander suffered a torn ligament in his pitching elbow in August 2010. He proceeded to miss a vast majority of the 2011 campaign, and the team enforced an innings limit in 2012, which forced him to miss the playoffs.

While he's managed to avoid any major setbacks since that point, he's still battled numerous minor injury problems in the following years. That includes two trips to the 15-day disabled list during the 2015 campaign.

His name popped up in the rumor mill over the winter as a potential trade target. Nothing developed on that front, and the sides eventually reached an agreement on a one-year, $10.4 million deal to avoid arbitration in his final season before unrestricted free agency, per Spotrac.

Back in December, Strasburg discussed trying to avoid the outside noise about his future with Todd Dybas of the Washington Times.

"I found with pitching, I pitch better if I don't stress out as much, if I just focus on the now," he said.

Ultimately, the Nationals decided Strasburg was too important to the team's success to let him get away. Trying to fill the void would have been a serious uphill battle, even when taking into account the injury issues he's dealt with at times.

Those concerns do add a little more risk to the signing, but they're outweighed by the upside. Strasburg is currently in what are typically a pitcher's prime seasons, and he should provide Washington with plenty of value moving forward.

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