Stephen Strasburg has money to burn.
Stephen Strasburg has money to burn.

‘My god’: star’s insane $359m windfall

STEPHEN Strasburg has returned to Major League Baseball franchise the Washington Nationals with a record contract, inking a deal that puts a fellow free agent, pitcher Gerrit Cole, in position for an even larger payday.

Washington and the World Series MVP agreed to an $A359 million, seven-year contract - a deal of surprising size and length for a 31-year-old right-hander with an injury-filled resume.

The previous largest contract for a pitcher had been David Price's $318 million, seven-year deal with Boston that began in 2016.

"For me, it was an early Christmas present," Washington manager Dave Martinez said.

"Just watching his whole career, to think that he's going to end it here with the team he started with is awesome for him and his family."

Strasburg gets $51 million annually, with $117 million deferred. The deferred money is payable in equal instalments of just over $39 million on July 1 in 2027, 2028 and 2029, with an interest payment of nearly $6 million on December 31, 2029. He gets a full no-trade provision and a hotel suite on road trips.

Cole, who pitched for the Houston Astros last season but is now a free agent, is expected to shatter Strasburg's salary standards sometime soon. Cole is two years younger, and while he made five trips to the disabled list from 2014-16, he has not been sidelined since.

"Right now it seems like the dominoes are falling more quickly than they have in the past," said new Los Angeles Angels manager Joe Maddon, whose team is thought to be competing with the New York Yankees for Cole.

"We somehow have to grab some of these dominoes right now and figure it out."

Strasburg was drafted first overall by Washington in 2009 and has spent his entire career with the Nationals. He'll stay in a rotation that also features All-Stars Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin.

"He's a wonderful person, a wonderful player and a true champion," Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said at a news conference.

"We know this person, we know his character, we know his work ethic."

After helping win the first World Series title in the 51-season history of the Montreal/Washington franchise, Strasburg gave up $146.8 million he had been guaranteed from 2020-23 as part of a $256.9 million, seven-year contract he agreed to in May 2016, and became a free agent.

Strasburg gets $734,000 for winning the MVP award, $367,000 for second, $220,000 for third, $146,000 for fourth and $110,000 for fifth and the same amounts for Cy Young Award voting.

He receives $367,000 for World Series MVP, $220,000 for League Championship Series MVP and $146,000 for making the All-Star team, winning a Gold Glove and earning a Silver Slugger.

In the other big contract announced this week, Philadelphia finalised a $173 million, five-year agreement with Zack Wheeler that was reached last week subject to a successful physical.

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News Corp Australia


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