HomeMLB RumorsStephen Strasburg Officially Retires - MLB Trade Rumors

Stephen Strasburg Officially Retires – MLB Trade Rumors

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Right-hander Stephen Strasburg has officially retired, as noted by Andrew Golden of the Washington Post. Neither the Nationals or Strasburg have announced the decision, which was posted on MLB.com’s transactions log this evening. Golden adds that Strasburg will be paid the $105MM left on his seven-year, $345MM deal with the Nationals, though Strasburg has reportedly agreed to defer some of his remaining salary. Golden adds that the specifics of the deferrals are not yet clear, though The Athletic’s Britt Ghiroli makes clear that the arrangement does not lower the total value of Strasburg’s deal with the club.

The news concludes a lengthy saga that saw Strasburg’s initial retirement plans, which came to light in August of last year, scuttled by a dispute between the player and team over the remainder of his contract with the club that reportedly arose when the team sought to change the terms of their initial retirement agreement, which would have seen the right-hander be paid in full. Whether or not Strasburg would retire was largely immaterial from a baseball perspective, as the 35-year-old has been shut down from all baseball activity for nearly a year due to nerve damage and thoracic outlet syndrome, which has interfered with the veteran’s ability to perform basic tasks such as opening doors or lifting his young children in recent years.

Those injuries limited Strasburg to just eight starts over the course of his megadeal with Washington, which came on the heels of the righty winning World Series MVP honors in 2019 for his role in bringing home the only championship in franchise history. Strasburg’s heroics in 2019, which saw him pitch to an excellent 3.32 ERA while leading the NL with 209 innings pitched in the regular season before dominating with a 1.98 ERA in 36 1/3 postseason innings that fall, act as a capstone on an illustrious 13-year career that was cut short by injuries.

When he was selected first overall by the Nationals in the 2009 draft, Strasburg was among the most heralded amateur talents in the history of the sport thanks to his work at San Diego State University, where he pitched to a sterling 1.43 ERA and racked up 328 strikeouts over his final two seasons in college. He ascended through the minor leagues quickly to make his big league debut in June of the 2010 season, allowing two runs in seven innings against Pittsburgh while striking out 14 Pirates and flashing a triple-digit fastball.

Unfortunately, the right-hander’s debut season was cut short by Tommy John surgery, though he did manage to make 12 starts where he pitched to a phenomenal 2.91 ERA with an even better 2.08 FIP. From the moment he returned to the mound at the end of the 2011 season, however, Strasburg joined a core of young talent in Washington that also included the likes of Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, Gio Gonzalez, and Anthony Rendon. That group led the club to eight consecutive winning seasons from 2012 to 2019 that included five trips to the playoffs, including the aforementioned World Series championship in 2019.

That eight-year stretch saw Strasburg dominate to the tune of a 3.21 ERA and 3.03 FIP in 222 starts at the front of the D.C. rotation while striking out 28.9% of batters faced. Among pitchers with at least 800 innings during that time, Strasburg posted the fourth-best strikeout rate and sixth-best FIP while ranking eleventh in ERA, and 30th in both walk rate and groundball rate. Strasburg’s time at the top of the Nationals rotation culminated in 2019, when he led the Nationals through the playoffs against the Brewers, Dodgers, and Cardinals alongside Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin before the club felled the Astros in seven games to secure the Commissioner’s Trophy.

Following the win, Strasburg opted out of the remainder of his seven-year $175MM deal with Washington in order to test the open market for the first time in his career. The club went over the top to keep their franchise face, signing the then-31-year-old Strasburg to a deal that would take him through his age-37 season. That contract will go down as one of the worst in MLB history, as Strasburg pitched just 31 1/3 innings of 6.98 ERA baseball after it took effect in 2020, while the Nationals found themselves plunged into a lengthy rebuild by the summer of 2021.

While injuries may have derailed Strasburg’s career in his final years, few players ever reach the peaks that the three-time All Star did during his time in the majors. The right-hander enters the record books with a career 3.24 ERA (127 ERA+) and 3.02 FIP in 1,470 innings of work. He struck out 1,723 batters in his career while going 113-62 in 247 career starts in the regular season. He pairs those fantastic career numbers with even better postseason figures, including a 1.46 ERA in 55 1/3 playoff innings and a whopping 32.6% strikeout rate during the postseason. MLB Trade Rumors congratulates Strasburg on a phenomenal career and wishes him the best as he officially enters retirement.

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