Stephen Strasburg is returning to Washington with a record contract, and fellow free agent pitcher Gerrit Cole could be in line for an even larger payday.
The World Series MVP and the Nationals agreed Monday to a $245 million, seven-year contract, the first significant announcement at this week’s Winter Meetings in San Diego.
Strasburg, a 31-year-old righthander, received the highest deal for a pitcher in both total dollars and average annual value at $35 million. The largest contract for a pitcher had been David Price’s $217 million, seven-year deal with Boston that began in 2016. The highest average value had been Zack Greinke’s $34.4 million as part of a $206.5 million, six-year agreement with Arizona prior to the 2016 season.
Strasburg’s average annual value is second among all players behind outfielder Mike Trout’s $35.5 million in a $426.5 million, 12-year contract with the Angels that started last season.
“We would not have won the 2019 World Series or accomplished everything we have these last 10 seasons if not for Stephen’s many contributions,” Nationals owner Mark Lerner said in a statement.
Strasburg gets $35 million annually, with $80 million deferred — about $11.4 million a year. The deferred money is payable from 2028-30.
The contract sets a floor for Cole, who is expected to top the records Strasburg just set.
Cole, whose Astros lost to the Nationals in a seven-game World Series, is two years younger and has been healthier throughout his career. Like Strasburg, he’s represented by agent Scott Boras.
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.”
Strasburg was 18-6 with a 3.32 ERA this season, topping 30 starts for the second time in his career and leading the NL with 209 innings.
He went 5-0 with a 1.98 ERA in five postseason starts and one relief appearance, including wins in Games 2 and 6 of the World Series against Houston.
In a career interrupted by Tommy John surgery shortly after his spectacular major league debut in 2010, Strasburg is 112-58 with a 3.17 ERA and 1,695 strikeouts in parts of 10 seasons. He’s made 10 trips to the disabled list over seven of those years.
Wheeler a done deal
The Philadelphia Phillies and righthander Zack Wheeler finalized their $118 million, five-year contract. Wheeler agreed to the deal last Thursday subject to a successful physical.
Wheeler, 29, will stay in the NL East after spending his first seven seasons with the New York Mets. He was 11-8 with a 3.96 ERA last season after going 12-7 with a 3.31 ERA in 2018.
Wheeler missed the 2015 and 2016 seasons following Tommy John surgery.
Cubs add Napoli
The Chicago Cubs hired former San Diego Padres manager Andy Green as bench coach, joining the staff of first-year manager David Ross . The former big league infielder, who was fired in September, was 274-366 over four seasons leading the Padres.
Mike Napoli, a 12-year major league veteran who retired after the 2017 season, joined Ross’s staff as a quality assurance coach. He and Ross were teammates on the 2013 World Series champion Red Sox.
Former Philadelphia Phillies pitching coach Chris Young was hired as bullpen coach, and Craig Driver will be the first base coach.