Baseball free agency is heating up as the weather gets colder. This week we are breaking down 10 potential free-agent targets for the White Sox ahead of the Winter Meetings.
Stephen Strasburg, RH SP, Nationals
2019 salary: $38,333,333
2019 stats: 209 IP, 3.32 ERA, 251 K, 56 BB, 161 hits (24 HR)
What Strasburg would bring to the White Sox
Strasburg was one of the most hyped draft picks when the Nationals took him No. 1 overall in 2009. He has elite strikeout stuff, but endured a Tommy John surgery early in his MLB career in 2010. Since then, the Nationals have played it cautiously with Strasburg. He has only gone over 200 innings twice in his career, although 2019 was one of those years when Strasburg led the National League with 209 innings.
His ERA has been under 3.75 every year of his career and he hasn't shown any signs of dropoff in his arsenal. He was also a stud in the playoffs this fall with a 1.98 ERA, 47 strikeouts and four walks in 36.1 innings.
Strasburg would vault straight to the top of the White Sox rotation. If he can continue to shoulder a full-season workload, which is a fair question because Strasburg averaged 145 innings per year from 2015-2018, Strasburg is a top 10 pitcher in baseball.
What it would take to get him
Strasburg opted out of the final four years and $100 million on a seven-year, $175 million contract to enter free agency, so he's expecting to get more than that. He could be in line for a record-setting contract for a pitcher, although Gerrit Cole could top him within the same offseason.
Look for Strasburg to get more than $30 million per year on a long-term contract.
Why it's not realistic for the White Sox
Until the White Sox win the bidding war for a top-end free agent, the assumption will be that they won't. Strasburg is a premier pitching talent coming off a World Series MVP. He will be expensive and many teams will be interested in him.
There's also the fact that Strasburgh might not want to leave the Nationals anyway. He has been in the nation's capital his whole career and most early indications are that both parties want to sign a new deal.
Dodgers are looking at Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg and Anthony Rendon. But while they can afford to go big, word is they have set valuations for each star and intend to remain disciplined.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 25, 2019
Kawhi Leonard says what’s up to fellow San Diego State alum Stephen Strasburg after hitting the go-ahead shot to beat the Rockets.— Chase Hughes (@ChaseHughesNBCS) November 23, 2019
A Finals MVP and a World Series MVP. pic.twitter.com/QAdj9QmJ2l