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Stephen Strasburg is returning to the Washington Nationals on a seven-year, $245 million deal, according to several reports. The World Series MVP had opted out of the remaining four years and $100 million remaining on his contract, although in classic Nationals fashion, much of that $100 million was backloaded and deferred.
The deal will have ripple effects across baseball. Most pressingly for the Yankees, the record $35 million average salary probably drives the market up for Gerrit Cole. It also means that stud infielder Anthony Rendon is likely leaving Washington.
Owner Mark Lerner claims the team can’t afford to pay Strasburg and Rendon. “We really can only afford to have one of those two guys,” Lerner said last month. “They’re huge numbers. We already have a really large payroll to begin with.”
Strasburg, a college prodigy who broke into the majors as a 21-year-old rookie in 2010, struggled with injuries before bouncing back for a career year in 2019. He finished fifth in the NL Cy Young voting after an 18-win campaign and leading the NL with 209 innings pitched. He had five of the Nationals’ 12 playoff wins en route to a World Series title, allowing nine earned runs in 55 innings.
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