Stephen Strasburg's new contract is set up to keep him in Washington through the 2023 season, seven full years after this current 2016 campaign is over. At his press conference on Tuesday to announce the $175 million deal, Strasburg spoke highly of the Nationals organization and the city of D.C. in terms of why he chose to forego free agency and sign long-term.
"I think from day one, when I first signed here, it was a very new experience for me being from Southern California. But over the last few years, the city of D.C. has really grown on my family," Strasburg said.
"We're very, very comfortable here. To see the commitment not only to the players they bring in but the guys that they draft, it's a lot of high character guys. A lot of guys with a lot of talent. I really feel like this organization is going to be winning and succeeding for many years to come and I really want to be a part of that."
Strasburg relied heavily on agent Scott Boras' advice and also consulted his parents and his wife before making the decision. Though he grew up nearly 3,000 miles away, Strasburg feels at home in Washington and is excited to continue living in the area.
"We tried to see what our life goals are outside of baseball. I think this city and this situation gives us a tremendous opportunity and platform to accomplish those things. We're just very excited to be here for quite some time," Strasburg said.
Strasburg, 27, will be paid handsomely with the 18th-largest contract in MLB history in terms of total value. But by re-signing for $175M, he opted not to test free agency where he could have potentially earned more.
"It just felt right. The grass isn't always greener on the other side," Strasburg said.
The groundwork for Strasburg's new contract was laid in spring training through meetings between Boras and Nationals brass. Two weeks before the deal was made official, Strasburg left the team in Kansas City to take a physical. All the while, Strasburg was continuing to pitch for the Nationals and trying to remain focused on the task at hand.
"I pretty much told Scott to leave me along as much as possible. To be honest, it's hard to block out something like this out," Strasburg said. "It's your future and it's your kids' future, too. I think the one thing that kept me centered and kept me focused was 'why do I play this game?' The bottom line is that I play this game because I'm a competitor. I love the guy next to me and I want to do everything I can to help this team win some games."
Many members of the organization showed up for Strasburg's press conference including Bryce Harper, Max Scherzer, Dusty Baker, Mike Maddux and the ownership group.