Nationals: Reasons for and against Stephen Strasburg opting out

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Stephen Strasburg (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
Stephen Strasburg (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) /
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WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 14: The crowd watch as Stephen  Strasburg #37 of the Washington Nationals prepares to pitch in the seventh inning of the game three of the National League Championship Series against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on October 14, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 14: The crowd watch as Stephen  Strasburg #37 of the Washington Nationals prepares to pitch in the seventh inning of the game three of the National League Championship Series against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on October 14, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

Reasons to stay

I think most fans would hope that the main reason he wants to stay is loyalty to the Nationals fanbase, but we all know the biggest reason is $100 million.

Stephen Strasburg signed a 7-year, $175 million contract with the Nationals back before the 2017 season and so far he’s only collected $75 million of that.

A big reason is that the Nationals back-loaded the contract, giving him $45 million in 2023.

For that reason alone, it might actually work in the Nationals benefit if he decides to back out. That’s a lot of money to come off the books for 2023.

But obviously, the Nationals are in win-now mode, and they need Strasburg at the top of the starting rotation in order to get back to the World Series — especially if Max Scherzer continues to have injury issues.

It’s also just very risky right now on the free agent market.

Yes, Strasburg is at the top of his game, but owners aren’t stupid anymore. They realize he’s going to start declining soon.

And while he may be great for the next two seasons, do they still want to pay him ace-type money for his declining years?

Strasburg would have to be very certain that he can get more than $100 million on the open market before deciding to opt-out.

Plus, maybe he’s liked his time in DC and that will persuade him to stay? One can dream.

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