The 2019 MLB free-agent class looks to be adding even more starting pitching depth. According to a report by MLB.com's Jon Morosi: "There's increasing speculation in the industry that [Stephen Strasburg] will opt out of the remaining four years and $100 million left on his contract with the Nationals -- or at least leverage that possibility into getting a new, larger contract."
Our own Matt Snyder recently detailed the upcoming free agent starting pitching class, which includes Gerrit Cole, Madison Bumgarner, Zack Wheeler, and Hyun-Jin Ryu. While nothing is certain, it seems likely Strasburg could be joining them -- we have more on that here.
The former No. 1 overall pick has rather quietly turned into one of the most consistent starters in baseball.
Since his highly anticipated debut in 2010, "Stras" ranks eighth in ERA (3.19), ninth in ERA+ (129), and 13th in WAR (31.6) among the 88 pitchers who have accumulated 1,000 or more innings.
Although injuries and inning restrictions have limited him, he is, in the least, a top-10 pitcher in the league and should be paid as one come free agency. Strictly out of speculation, when considering the contracts some of the most recent top-tier free agent starters have signed, such as Patrick Corbin, Strasburg could be looking at a payday north of $150 million in guaranteed money.
The line at the Strasburg storefront will be out the door, but we believe there are six clubs who should be extra aggressive in the sweepstakes.
On account of front offices still not knowing how much money they will have to spend and a handful of players yet to formally decide whether they want to test the market or not (Strasburg included), this list is strictly theoretical. It is based on team needs, future outlooks, and realistic expectations. Nevertheless, we believe all six of these teams, indeed, have legitimate chances of landing the star right-hander for various reasons that will be detailed below.
These are the six best landing spots for Stephen Strasburg.
San Diego Padres
Strasburg grew up in the San Diego suburbs and went on to play his college ball at nearby San Diego State. Coached by the late great Tony Gwynn, Strasburg became an icon along the California beaches -- his legacy was largely built from the depths of his own hometown.
Many critics questioned Manny Machado's decision to sign a mega-deal with the Padres this past offseason. Sure, the team is at least a year away from contending, but San Diego offers sandy beaches, Pacific coast sunsets, a warm climate, and the always immaculate Petco Park. One could do much worse.