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Sunday, November 03, 2019

MLB hot stove: Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg opts out of contract, becomes free agent, per report

As expected, Washington Nationals right-hander and reigning World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg has opted out of his contract, reports MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand. The Nationals have not yet confirmed the news. Strasburg is walking away from four years and $100 million. Saturday was the deadline to opt out.

Strasburg, 31, threw a National League leading 209 innings during the regular season, and finished with 3.32 ERA and 251 strikeouts. He then threw another 36 1/3 innings with a 1.98 ERA during Washington’s postseason run, including 8 1/3 innings of two-run ball with the season on the line in World Series Game 6.

The Nationals signed Strasburg to a seven-year extension worth $175 million in May 2016. The contract included heavy deferrals, as big Nationals contracts often do. Here is what Strasburg is leaving on the table:

2020: $25 million ($10 million deferred until 2027)
2021: $15 million
2022: $15 million
2023: $45 million ($30 million deferred until 2028-30)

 

QLE Posted: November 03, 2019 at 12:08 AM | 32 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: free agency, opt-outs, stephen strasburg

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: November 03, 2019 at 01:06 AM (#5898276)
Per Cots, by opting out, he does speed up the deferred payments he's already owed. Jesus they're quick, he's already removed from the Nats' page. Anyway, by opting out, the 3/$30 he's owed starts getting paid out in 2020 in $10 M installments instead of waiting until 2024. Not a big deal but even if he eventually gets the same deal of 4/$100 with $40 deferred, he's a smidgen better off.

Anyway, I'm surprised they never worked out an extension before opting out. I'll guesstimate he'll get something between 5/$140 and 6/$190. That's a ridiculously broad range I know but the comps get a bit crazy at the high pitcher end. 5/$140 is a bit below Sale who had a better track record at signing but signed early. It's also what Verlander's 2015-19 extension was and we'd expect some inflation and Strasburg is a year younger ... and Verlander's age 37-38 extension was 2/$66 so if somebody was willing to risk that, why not at least 6/$180 on Strasburg. And Price's 7/$217 takes him through age 36 and that was signed 4 years ago ... and Greinke's crazy contract. The main knock on Strasburg is still durability -- big innings this year but just 130 last year and 175 (+14) the year before, this was his first season of 30+ starts since 2014. Basically every team will be interested from a baseball-only perspective so any team with the money to spend will be interested and that's never hurt the contract amount.
   2. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 03, 2019 at 01:12 AM (#5898277)
Well, at least he talked Boras into letting him wear Nats gear for the parade.
   3. The Yankee Clapper Posted: November 03, 2019 at 02:07 AM (#5898282)
I'll guesstimate he'll get something between 5/$140 and 6/$190.
A compromise might start closer to the lower end, with fairly hefty bonuses & a 6th-year vesting option tied to Cy Young voting, that could bring the total significantly closer to the top of that range.
   4. The Duke Posted: November 03, 2019 at 08:59 AM (#5898292)
He’ll not only get more money and more years but the remainder of his contract was backend loaded so the PV of what he gets will be better. Plus he’ll get multiple opt outs in all likelihood. 6/190 with opt outs vs 4/100 with 45 in the final year is way better. Who won’t be interested in signing him? Imagine if the Mets go all-in on him.
   5. Dock Ellis Posted: November 03, 2019 at 09:28 AM (#5898295)
What's the shelf life on TJ'd elbows? Strasburg had his in 2010.....
   6. McCoy Posted: November 03, 2019 at 09:42 AM (#5898297)
I could see the cubs making a run at him.
   7. Bourbon Samurai stays in the fight Posted: November 03, 2019 at 11:09 AM (#5898307)
I would peg him at 65 percent to return to Nats, 30 percent to go to Padres or Angels, 5 percent some other high bidder, but I have no ill will if he winds up going, he gave us everything we could possibly have dreamed of
   8. Spahn Insane Posted: November 03, 2019 at 11:14 AM (#5898308)
Strasburg led the NL in innings pitched, Jorge Soler led the AL in games played. I would not have bet the house on either of
those outcomes.
   9. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: November 03, 2019 at 03:08 PM (#5898347)
Strasburg, 31, threw a National League leading 209 innings during the regular season

This is the second-fewest innings ever to lead a major league in a full season, narrowly edging out Jeff Samardzija's 207.2 from 2017. (It does beat the league leaders in both leagues from 1994 and 1981 - albeit not by a lot - and does not beat the leaders from 1995.)
   10. Walt Davis Posted: November 03, 2019 at 03:19 PM (#5898349)
Has JDM made his decision yet?
   11. Walt Davis Posted: November 03, 2019 at 04:31 PM (#5898357)
What's the shelf life on TJ'd elbows? Strasburg had his in 2010.....

A good question that I'm nearly certain I've read attempts to answer but Google isn't turning them up for me. Closest I get is this interesting HT article from April 2018. They've got a table for most ML innings pitched post TJS. By that table, Strasburg is about to move into the top 10 all-time but still well behind teammate Anibal Sanchez. Whether that's a good thing (he's one of the big survivors) or bad (he's surely about to pop) ...

There was an actual "medical" study in 2015 showing that the 2nd TJS is not a good thing -- about 1/3 don't return, the ones that do didn't last as long as otherwise similar pitchers and their innings dropped by about half.

Also from the HT article: Roughly seven out of every eight MLB games you watched last year involved a pitcher whose career has been extended due to this surgery. More than a quarter of current major league pitchers have had it.

Caveat: that top 10 table doesn't include TJS during amateur I don't think.
   12. John Northey Posted: November 03, 2019 at 05:46 PM (#5898366)
Well, the first famous case - Tommy John himself - had 13 more seasons in him. 164-125 3.66 ERA 107 ERA+. 2544 2/3 IP after having what would be a primitive version of what is done now (he was out all of 1975, probably had it in 1974).

Basically if you do the work a pitcher with TJS should be as durable as any other pitcher. Pitchers are funny things - they can be workhorses for years then suddenly pop and done.
   13. Walt Davis Posted: November 03, 2019 at 09:58 PM (#5898407)
Maybe floating around the site somewhere but ESPN reporting that Chapman and the Yanks have agreed to add 1/$18 to his deal, avoiding the opt-out.
   14. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: November 03, 2019 at 10:36 PM (#5898415)
That is fantastic news for Chapman's garage door.
   15. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 03, 2019 at 11:42 PM (#5898421)
There was an actual "medical" study in 2015 showing that the 2nd TJS is not a good thing
Was that published in Norm MacDonald's favorite medical journal?
   16. Bote Man Posted: November 04, 2019 at 12:00 AM (#5898424)
There were (credible?) reports that Strasburg's and the Nats' people would start negotiating today (Sunday) toward a deal to keep him in D.C. Whether that actually happens remains to be seen (alcohol may have been involved). I think I've also seen talk of an exclusive negotiating window lasting most or all of the coming work week.

There is strong incentive for him to stay, having set up his home life in the D.C. area, plus he had made statements that lend weight to that belief. Plus, the Nationals have "found money" coming in as a result of winning the World Series, not only the spoils of the hunt but also ticket and concession sales relating to those games and promotional opportunities as well. If the amount of payments in the MASN dispute are ever determined in our lifetimes, that could figure into the negotiations as well, assuming the Lerners are willing to spend on player payroll. I'm hopeful and optimistic on this front, which is a rare thing with this club.
   17. Howie Menckel Posted: November 04, 2019 at 12:12 AM (#5898426)
yes, but I think the Padres have F-U money and he has very strong personal and family ties to San Diego.
   18. Bote Man Posted: November 04, 2019 at 12:51 AM (#5898432)
Strasburg put his house in the San Diego area on the market back in April, FWIW. I don't know if it sold.
   19. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 04, 2019 at 12:59 AM (#5898434)
Strasburg put his house in the San Diego area on the market back in April, FWIW. I don't know if it sold.
It should have sold if he put it on the market FWIW. That's a fair deal!
   20. Walt Davis Posted: November 04, 2019 at 01:21 AM (#5898436)
"found money" coming in as a result of winning the World Series

The biggest impact (methinks) is usually on increased ticket prices, increased attendance (if possible), increased season ticket sales, higher sponsorship fees moreso than the short-term bump from the season itself (though nobody's complaining about that). For an example (that I suspect is extreme), Astros' attendance went from 2.4 M in 2017 to nearly 3.0 M in 2018, down to 2.9 M in 2019. I'm not sure they can go much higher (highest in that park is a bit over 3) but I assume they are seeing price increases and a shift to more season ticket sales. Per 2018 Forbes, a 10% bump in Nats' gate receipts would be about $12 M. I suspect Mr. Strasburg would be content with $37 M per year even if $10 of it is deferred. :-)

Also, Nats' regular-season attendance was down 270,000 this year -- I'll guess that's mainly because of the terrible start turning the causal fans off -- so the short-term WS boost might only bring their revenue back into line with last year.
   21. Walt Davis Posted: November 04, 2019 at 01:32 AM (#5898437)
I was curious as to whether Nats' attendance went up as the season went on and decided I'd check weekend dates. There wasn't anything overly dramatic until maybe the last weekend. But I did notice that their home weekend dates were often kinda stinkers. In order (after opening weekend):

Pit, SD, Cubs (only 60,000!), Ari, Atl, KC, LAD, Milw, MIA, Atl, Cle

So the only important intra-division was two series against Atl. Also big weekend dates with Cubs and Dodgers. But Pitt, SD, KC, Mia and Cle -- you'd be hard-pressed to come up with a worse weekend schedule. Maybe that's on purpose thinking you should draw well on the weekend regardless -- certainly a mid-week with KC ain't gonna bring them out. Also looks like just 12 home weekend series and 14 on the road. And no, I'm not going to check how that compares to earlier years, I just noticed it was a lot of stinkers on traditional big crowd days.
   22. Sunday silence Posted: November 04, 2019 at 02:43 AM (#5898441)
Roughly seven out of every eight MLB games you watched last year involved a pitcher whose career has been extended due to this surgery. More than a quarter of current major league pitchers have had it.


Is TJ surgery more likely to occur on Starting pitchers? Cause the math here doesnt quite work out. For instance if it was 30% rate, you'd expect like 72% of games to feature at least one pitcher with TJS.
   23. Zonk Begs Your Pardon, Mr Blago Posted: November 04, 2019 at 08:54 AM (#5898449)
Strasburg led the NL in innings pitched, Jorge Soler led the AL in games played. I would not have bet the house on either of
those outcomes.


I did not realize that Soler led the AL in HRs.
   24. Rally Posted: November 04, 2019 at 09:48 AM (#5898461)
Is TJ surgery more likely to occur on Starting pitchers? Cause the math here doesnt quite work out. For instance if it was 30% rate, you'd expect like 72% of games to feature at least one pitcher with TJS.


I think more than that. The 7 of 8 figure presumably includes games where any pitcher on either side had TJS. If each team uses 3 pitchers then the odds of all of them NOT having the surgery is 0.7 ^6. So the odds at least one did have the surgery is about 12% - looks close enough to me.

Hard to say about the starter/reliever split since roles change. Like the guy who threw the last pitch of 2019: Daniel Hudson. Reliever now, but went under the knife when he was a starter.
   25. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: November 04, 2019 at 10:05 AM (#5898466)
Is TJ surgery more likely to occur on Starting pitchers? Cause the math here doesnt quite work out. For instance if it was 30% rate, you'd expect like 72% of games to feature at least one pitcher with TJS.

Based on BB-Ref, each team used an average of 3.87 pitchers per game in 2019 (that includes position players pitching). So that's 7.75 total pitchers used per game. Assuming 25% of pitchers have had TJ surgery (actually assuming 25% of appearances are by a TJ pitcher), that would mean 89% of games would include a pitcher who had it.

In reality, guys who had the surgery probably average fewer appearances than guys who didn't. If 23.5% of appearances are by guys who've had TJ surgery, I think that would get you to the 7/8 of games cited in the article above.

EDIT: I'm using the same math as Rally in #24 but just using 7.75 pitchers per game instead of 6. 1-(1-.25)^7.75 = 89%

EDIT2: Realized I was doublecounting appearances by players who had been traded mid-season. Average number of pitchers used per game is 7.75, not 8.8. Numbers above have been updated.
   26. bunyon Posted: November 04, 2019 at 10:15 AM (#5898469)
How much of that found money materializes if neither Strasburg nor Rendon are on the 2020 roster? Not all of it, for sure.
   27. Walt Davis Posted: November 04, 2019 at 02:54 PM (#5898548)
Was that published in Norm MacDonald's favorite medical journal?

:-). What I meant is I think it was actual medical researchers in an actual academic journal (though probably not a top one) but they were just using MLB data that any of us could have gotten off of b-r.

As to the numbers, check the linked HT article, I didn't read it that closely. It was from April 2018 so "last year" was 2017 which might make a difference in some of those calculations. And I don't know if SPs are more likely to have TJS but I would guess that SPs post-TJS are more likely to get a post-surgery MLB return, possibly returning as relievers. They are generally better pitchers (or better prospects) to begin with and even if they're not good enough to start post-TJS, they can take a shot at relieving.
   28. SoSH U at work Posted: November 04, 2019 at 05:16 PM (#5898576)
Maybe that's on purpose thinking you should draw well on the weekend regardless -- certainly a mid-week with KC ain't gonna bring them out.


What do you mean, maybe that's on purpose? The Nats don't make up their own schedule.
   29. Walt Davis Posted: November 04, 2019 at 10:30 PM (#5898654)
The Nats don't make up their own schedule

True, doesn't mean the schedule-makers don't take such things into consideration (as one parameter among many). But no, I don't think it's on purpose, but I would suggest schedule-makers should try to balance things out as much as possible (which probably isn't much) so as not to give any team a bunch of crappy weekend dates.
   30. McCoy Posted: November 04, 2019 at 10:41 PM (#5898658)
Nats like any other team get input on their schedule. All the teams put in requests.
   31. ThisElevatorIsDrivingMeUpTheWall Posted: November 05, 2019 at 10:02 AM (#5898738)
I suspect part of that is because they want to be home on Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day, and it might cost them a weekend series to schedule for that.
   32. The Yankee Clapper Posted: November 05, 2019 at 02:43 PM (#5898857)
Teams make requests, and MLB tries to alternate the most desirable options that most teams request every season, such as being at home for the holiday weekends and having the Yankees (and other popular teams) visit on weekends.

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