Mike Rizzo confident Strasburg will be with Nationals beyond 2019

Chris Lingebach
September 11, 2019 - 10:51 am

Nationals GM Mike Rizzo tried to quell fan concerns that starter Stephen Strasburg may opt out of his contract after the season.

The speculation has largely been fueled by Strasburg's exceptional performance this season – he's gone 16-6 with a 3.50 ERA with 222 strikeouts to just 47 walks – and the knowledge that his contract contains a "rolling" opt-out clause, allowing him to exercise his option after this season or next, thereby releasing him from the seven-year, $175 million extension he signed in May 2016.

Rizzo was asked if he has any concerns about Strasburg potentially opting out after the season during his weekly 106.7 The Fan appearance with The Sports Junkies, presented by Burke & Herbert Bank.

"He's had a terrific season for us. He's been a great National," Rizzo said. "We think and I know that he is comfortable here. He loves it here in Washington, D.C. He's sold his place in San Diego and lives here full time. He's a Washingtonian."

"He negotiated that aspect of the contract into his contract, and he has every right to contemplate opting out, if he were inclined to do so," he continued. "But we love having him here. I think he likes being here and he's made this his home. We'll have those discussions after the season and see what his thought process is.

"But every time Stras is on the mound, I think I like our chances to win that game. I think he likes it here, and I think he loves his teammates and the atmosphere that we have here and I'm confident that he'll be a National."

Strasburg still has four years remaining on his deal after 2019, and is set to earn an average annual value of $25 million. The question for him will be whether he thinks he can fetch more annually on the open market, or if the threat of doing so is strong enough to bring the Nats back to the negotiating table.

If he opts out, Strasburg would be competing with the likes of Dallas Keuchel (7-5, 3.47 ERA), Cole Hamels (7-6, 3.95), Gerrit Cole (16-5, 2.73) , Hyun-Jin Ryu (12-5, 2.45) and Jake Odorizzi (14-6, 3.60).

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