Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals have reached agreement on a seven-year deal, the team announced. Sources told ESPN's Jeff Passan that the value of the deal is a record-setting $245 million.
That deal surpasses the previous high for a pitcher's contract, set by David Price when he signed a seven-year, $217 million deal with the Boston Red Sox. Strasburg also has the highest annual average value, eclipsing Zack Greinke's $31.5 million. Both records might not last long, with former Houston Astros right-hander Gerrit Cole drawing interest.
Strasburg's deal has $80 million in deferred money -- about $11.4 million a year. The deferred money is payable from 2028-30.
"We are very excited to welcome Stephen Strasburg and his family back to the Washington Nationals," Nationals owner Mark D. Lerner said in a statement. "His tremendous talent, work ethic and leadership have been a staple of our organization since the day we selected him in the 2009 MLB Draft. 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."
Strasburg, who opted out of the final four years of his contract with the Nationals, entered free agency fresh off a season in which he posted a career-high 18 wins and led the National League with 209 innings pitched -- no small measure for a pitcher who has battled injuries throughout his career.
He continued rolling in the playoffs: He became the first pitcher in major league history to win five games in a single postseason without a loss; his 47 strikeouts were tied for the second most in a single postseason (Curt Schilling had 56 in 2001); and Strasburg posted a 1.98 ERA in six appearances overall.
The 31-year-old right-hander won two games against the Astros in the World Series, including a pivotal Game 6 on the road in which he became the first pitcher to go at least eight innings in a World Series start since Matt Harvey did so in Game 5 in 2015. The following night, Washington won Game 7 and Strasburg became the first No. 1 overall draft pick to be named World Series MVP.
Strasburg's agent, Scott Boras, said that his client has developed a sense of trust in the Nationals.
"I must say that for Stephen, for him to establish a legacy and wear the curly W for his career was something that was very important to him, and I think it was because he knew that people in this organization cared deeply about him and always cared about his interests and the interests of his family, and because of that, he decided to stay at home and stay in one uniform and remain a Washington National for the remainder of his career," Boras said.
The key to Strasburg's success this past season was his increased use of his two best off-speed pitches -- his power curveball, which was the most valuable curveball in the majors in 2019 per FanGraphs, and his plus changeup with good arm speed and late-fading action. So while he still throws hard, averaging 93.9 mph on his four-seamer according to Statcast, he has been much better by throwing other pitches.
The big knock on Strasburg is his lack of durability. In eight full seasons, he has qualified for the ERA title just three times, falling three innings short in a fourth. He reached the threshold just twice in the past five seasons, missing about 10 starts in 2018 with injuries to his shoulder and neck.
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.
Lerner has said that the Nationals could not afford both Strasburg and their other premier free agent, third baseman Anthony Rendon. That was news to general manager Mike Rizzo.
"Well, when you look at those comments, and then you look at the structure of this particular deal and the structure of deals we've had getting up to where we are right now, I think that Mark realizes that there's ways to fit players in, there's ways that you can field a championship-caliber roster -- and, again, the resources have always been there, so I don't expect that to change," he said.
Rizzo confirmed a pending $6.25 million, one-year deal to keep second baseman Howie Kendrick, one of Washington's postseason stars.
ESPN's Keith Law and The Associated Press contributed to this report.