The dreams of many MLB fanbases were ruined this evening when it was announced that the Washington Nationals and SP Stephen Strasburg signed an extension that would keep him from free agency this upcoming off-season. The extension is reportedly for seven years and worth upwards of $175 million.
Strasburg has caught the eye of nearly every fan of Major League Baseball after being selected number one overall in the 2009 amateur draft. He was called up in 2010 and has had a record of 59-37 with a 3.06 ERA in a little over six seasons.
Strasburg has dealt with injury issues in his time with the Nationals that have resulted in him missing time in 2010, 2011, and 2015. His Tommy John surgery in 2010 forced the Nationals to limit the amount of innings he pitched. This was extremely controversial in 2012, as the team was making a playoff run.
This $25 million AAV is just right for a pitcher of his caliber. In free agency, Strasburg would likely have commanded a similar number, and he may have even took a pay cut due to the absence of a bidding war between franchises.
The Nationals have one of the better starting rotations in the league. Max Scherzer and Strasburg are under control until 2021 and 2023, respectively. The back-end of the rotation has also performed well so far this year with Gio Gonzalez, Tanner Roark, and Joe Ross all pitcher under a 2.20 ERA. If Washington could find a way to keep these five under control for a few more years, they would be in a good position to compete for years to come.
The biggest problem in Washington is getting the entire depth chart on the same page. It seems to be that whenever one player is hitting well, the remainder of the lineup can not produce. Not to mention they are battling in the same division as the New York Mets, who have one of the best rotations in baseball. They need to feed on the weaker teams in the division in the Phillies and the Braves to have a shot at the wild card this year.