Shortly after the Washington Nationals championship parade came to an end, Stephen Strasburg announced what everyone expected. He was opting out of the remainder of his contract with the Nationals. Strasburg is coming off a career year as he went 18-6, with a 3.32 ERA and 251 strikeouts in 209 innings. After battling injuries most of his career, Strasburg stayed healthy and Washington benefited from it. In the playoffs, the righty found a way to elevate his game. He went 5-0 with a 1.98 ERA and 47 strikeouts as he won World Series MVP. The former number one overall pick joins Gerrit Cole as the top pitchers on the open market. Here are five teams that Strasburg can end up signing with.
In 2016, Strasburg chose to skip free agency and told his agent to get a deal done with the Nationals. That led to his seven-year, $175 million deal. Now don’t be surprised if Strasburg opted out just to renegotiate with the only team he’s ever played with. A report has come out that both sides are interested in making a new deal. Washington has already announced they are ready to offer a significant raise for Strasburg.
Prediction: Re-signs with Washington
San Diego Padres
If Strasburg decides to leave Washington, this makes the most sense. He would be returning home as he is from San Diego and played at San Diego State. His hometown is ready to make a run at the ace. After signing Eric Hosmer and Manny Machado to big contracts over the past two seasons, the Padres are committed to contending. Young stud, Fernando Tatis Jr. will be back from injury and will help provide plenty of offense and defense.
What the Padres need is help in the pitching staff. They have young pitchers with plenty of upside, but they lack a bonafide number one. Strasburg would join Chris Paddack, Dinelson Lamet, Joey Lucchessi and when he is finally promoted, top pitching prospect, MacKenzie Gore.
New York Yankees
The Yankees came up short of going back to the World Series once again. The front office might finally decide to spend big once again and if they decided Gerrit Cole is too expensive, Strasburg would be the perfect consolation prize. He would team up with Luis Severino, James Paxton and Masahiro Tanaka. The Yankees have been missing an ace and Strasburg proved to the world he is one of the best postseason pitchers in recent years. Last year the Yankees’ pitching staff placed sixth in the AL in both strikeouts and ERA. Strasburg would make this pitching staff elite and could be the missing piece.
Chicago White Sox
Lucas Giolito had a break out 2019 that saw him go 14-9, with a 3.41 ERA and 228 strikeouts. He will be joined by top pitching prospect Michael Kopech who will be returning from Tommy John Surgery. This might not be enough and making a splash for a player such as Strasburg would escalate the White Sox rebuild. The White Sox pitching staff finished 11th in the AL last year in ERA with a 5.30. Strasburg has a career ERA of 3.17 and would make a great tandem with Giolito. The 31-year-old will help the White Sox compete while being a teacher for the young pitching staff. Who better to learn from than the World Series MVP himself.
In 2018, the Atlanta Braves arrived ahead of schedule and won the NL East before being bounced by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS. This past year the Braves won the NL East for a second straight year and had their eyes set on the World Series. Instead, they lost in the NLDS to the Cardinals in five games.
The Braves pitching staff is led by young arms Max Fried and Mike Soroka as well as Mike Foltynewicz. Similar to the Padres and Braves, the Braves pitching staff is missing is a veteran to lead the young guys. Soroka has started to emerge as an ace, but adding Strasburg will help push the Braves over the edge.
Feature Image From Bleacher Report
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