San Francisco Giants: Three free-agent pitchers to avoid this offseason
RHP Stephen Strasburg
Stephen Strasburg has the option this offseason to opt-out of the remaining four years and $100 million on his current deal with the Washington Nationals and test the waters in free agency.
If he does, plenty of teams will be lining up for a chance to sign him.
A dominant right-handed pitcher with an overwhelming mid-90s heater, Strasburg is in the midst of an astounding postseason. He’s posted a 1.64 ERA through 22 innings pitched this October.
That comes on the heels of an excellent regular season where he went 18-6 with a 3.32 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, and 251 strikeouts in an NL-leading 209 innings.
The 30-year-old pitcher is also learning to evolve and not rely solely on his fastball. After the NLDS game on Oct. 3, he told reporters: “I think there comes a point in everybody’s career where you don’t have the fastball that you can just blow by guys all the time, so you have to learn how to pitch a little bit more.”
Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo also said that Strasburg has “turned himself into a guy that he wants to be a workhorse and an innings-eater.”
So why wouldn’t the San Francisco Giants want to look into him?
See the first point: He is a right-handed pitcher with a mid-90s fastball.
Though he is, by his own admission, mixing in more offspeed pitches later in his career, throwing a power fastball to any left-handed hitters at Oracle Park is asking for trouble when Levi’s Landing is just 309 feet away.
Additionally, Strasburg would also be the third-oldest starting pitcher on the roster behind Samardzija (34) and Cueto (33). There is also his long history of injuries, including Tommy John surgery, shoulder inflammation, nerve issues in his neck, and more, and all of those 95 mph fastballs can take a toll.
There is no doubt Strasburg is a talent. However, he already has four years guaranteed should he stay with the Nats, so other teams will likely need to offer up at least a five-year deal to convince him to sign.
Strasburg is a pitcher moving into the next phase of his career trying to make adjustments as he ages. He would be a risky long-term investment for a San Francisco Giants team looking for rotation stability.