Step 2: Get Stephen Strasburg And Patrick Corbin To Bounce Back
Easier said than done, but if Washington wants to return to contention as quickly as possible, they will need their co-aces Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin to return to form. For Strasburg, he will have to stay healthy, something he has rarely been able to throughout his 12-year career. In 2019, he seemed to have finally shrugged off the injury bug, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young voting and being named World Series MVP.
Unfortunately, since the World Series ended, he has thrown 26.2 innings and underwent season-ending surgery in both 2020 and 2021. The veteran is owed over $175 million over the next five seasons.
For Patrick Corbin, the lefty was a key component in the franchise getting over the playoff hump and winning their first-ever World Series title. He will forever be remembered for coming out of the bullpen and throwing three shutout innings in Game Seven. Unfortunately, the lefty has regressed into one of the worst starters in baseball. He finished this season last in ERA (5.82), FIP (5.41), and losses (16).
He is owed over $82 million across the next three seasons and similar to Strasburg, his contract has become a burden to what the team can do.
Part of the Giant’s success stemmed from Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford, and Brandon Belt’s resurgence. The trio is what remains of the team’s World Series core from the early 2010s and entering 2021, they were owed over a combined $63 million. With so much invested in those three, the team needed them to produce at a high level.
And that they did. Posey returned after opting out of the 2020 season and had arguably the best year of his career since winning NL MVP in 2012. He slashed .304/.390/.499 and benefited greatly from his extended time off in 2020. At the age of 34, Crawford had a career year slashing .298/.373/.522 while setting a career-high in homers (24). Before being shut down at the end of September because of a broken thumb, Belt had posted career highs in homers (29) and SLG (.597).
With so much money invested into the rotation, it is essential that Strasburg and Corbin bounce back and can stay healthy.