Stephen Stasburg returns to Nationals

World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg on Monday agreed to terms with the Washington Nationals on a seven-year, $245 million contract, according to sources, six weeks after opting out of the final four years of his contract with the Nationals.

There are no opt-outs or options in the contract, a source said. Some of the contract money is deferred. Gauged before the deferrals are assessed, the contract carries the highest average annual value — $35 million — for a pitcher and tops the prior record for total value for a pitcher — David Price’s $217 million — by $28 million.

Those records are expected to be short-lived, as Gerrit Cole still unsigned and is being pursued by the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Angels, among others.

After a regular season in which for the first time in five seasons (and the second time in his career) he made more than 30 starts and posted more than 200 innings, then followed that with a dominating postseason, Strasburg traded $100 million in guaranteed salary for his first chance, at 31, at free agency.

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In five postseason starts and one relief appearance, Strasburg was 5-0 with a 1.98 ERA.

In two World Series starts, both in Houston, he was 2-0 with a 2.51 ERA. In Game 6, as the Nationals faced elimination, he pitched into the ninth inning while allowing two runs, both in the first inning of that game.

In October, Strasburg pitched three scoreless innings in relief in the Nationals’ wild card game win, started Game 5 of the division series clincher versus the Los Angeles Dodgers and threw seven innings versus the St. Louis Cardinals in the third of a four-game National League championship series sweep, and across the month walked four batters and struck out 47.

In the regular season, he was 18-6 with a 3.32 ERA. He struck out 251 batters, second in the NL to Jacob deGrom’s 255. After enduring a variety of injuries in the previous four seasons, including time missed for shoulder, elbow, back, neck and oblique ailments (he’d also sat out most of the 2011 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery), Strasburg held up for 235 1/3 innings in 2019, counting the postseason.

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