Stephen Strasburg Opt-Out in Offseason Reportedly Growing Likelier

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 31:  Stephen Strasburg #37 of the Washington Nationals pitches in the third inning during a baseball game against the Miami Marlins at Nationals Park on August 31, 2019 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Miami Marlins v Washington Nationals | Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

With 2020's free agent class looking a little pitching-deficient, it's possible that one big league star, previously thought to be locked up, could join the fray.

Stephen Strasburg, currently in the midst of a contract that'll take him through 2023, can instead trigger an opt-out, which many anticipate becoming a reality.

Stephen Strasburg Contract Details

As it stands now, Strasburg is on a seven-year, $175 million contract, signed midway through the 2016 season, but seen as a leverage play even back then, with this post-2019 opt-out intended to be triggered. Strasburg, now 31 years old, will make $25 million next season, followed by two successive campaigns at $15 million, and then a poison pill $45 million at age 34.

Though Strasburg's durability has often been questioned (and his legacy clouded by a bizarre playoff shutdown at the height of his powers), he's delivered numerous ace-like campaigns, striking out 215 in 179 innings of 3.47-ERA ball this season.

With the pitching market thin behind Gerrit Cole and an aging Madison Bumgarner, Strasburg could weave his way out of a crowded Nationals rotation this offseason and cash in elsewhere, as Scott Boras always likely intended.