It May Be the Biggest Contract Bust in MLB History

Stephen Strasburg has pitched 31 innings since signing $245M deal, may never pitch again
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 6, 2023 8:37 AM CDT
Updated Jun 10, 2023 6:30 AM CDT
It May Be the Biggest Contract Bust in MLB History
Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg delivers during a game in June 2021.   (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

It was a bold move: After their 2019 championship season, the Washington Nationals signed reigning World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg to a monstrous $245 million contract over seven years. At the time, it was the biggest contract ever awarded to a pitcher. The problem is that the 34-year-old hasn't thrown in a game in about a year and may never pitch again because of complications from "severe nerve damage," reports Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post. Worse for the Nationals, the team does not have disability insurance, according to the Post, meaning they have to pay Strasburg his $35 million annual salary not only for this season but for the three following seasons.

If that's how things pan out, it "would cement his gargantuan contract as arguably the worst in MLB history," writes Kendall Baker at Axios. Since he signed the deal, Strasburg has pitched a grand total of 31.1 innings thanks to a slew of injuries and a 2021 surgery, per A surprise comeback is still possible, though Baker writes that Strasburg appears destined to take his place not in Cooperstown but alongside baseball's other "what-ifs." Post columnist Barry Svrluga has a more forgiving take: "If this is the end, Stephen Strasburg should be remembered for what he is: an excellent pitcher who once electrified this town but whose body betrayed him," he writes. "I hope he’s able to see that, too." (More Major League Baseball stories.)

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