Washington Nationals: Looking ahead to the team’s 2019/20 free agents

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NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 18: Ryan Zimmerman #11 of the Washington Nationals celebrates his first-inning, three-run home run against the New York Mets with teammates in the dugout at Citi Field on April 18, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 18: Ryan Zimmerman #11 of the Washington Nationals celebrates his first-inning, three-run home run against the New York Mets with teammates in the dugout at Citi Field on April 18, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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Washington Nationals Stephen Strasburg
(Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images) /

Stephen Strasburg – Player Opt-Out

Now that we’ve looked at the three clear-cut free agents, we take a look at the players who have various options that could make them a free agent. First up is Washington Nationals rotation stalwart, Stephen Strasburg.

After the 2019 season, Strasburg has the first of two opt-out clauses in the contract he signed during the 2016 season. This means that the ball in his court ahead of what could be a decisive season for the right-hander.

After a promising 2017 in which he finished third in the NL Cy Young voting, Strasburg couldn’t replicate that form last term. He finished the year with a 10-7 record and 3.74 ERA as he continually battled injuries in 2018.

While Strasburg did have diminished velocity late last season, that’s expected to return and he has a good chance to be among the game’s best pitchers again. If he does rebound, then he will have an interesting decision to make with that player opt-out that looms at the end of the year.

He would be set to earn $25 million in 2020 if he was to decline his option, which is still pretty close to market value for a pitcher of his caliber. In another era with player-friendly free agency, he may have opted out, but unless he turns in a Cy Young season, he’s likely to remain with the Nationals beyond 2019.

Prediction: Stephen Strasburg declines his opt-out and remains in 2020

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