The thought of Stephen Strasburg opting out of his contract after this season once barely seemed like a possibility. But now, there is "increasing speculation in the industry" that that's just what he'll do, according to's Jon Morosi.

Strasburg has the option to opt-out of his contract following this season, and although that would take four years and roughly $100 million off the table, he'd likely be able to come close to doubling that as a free agent, even if he were to re-sign with the Nationals. In a free-agent class that's slated to be light on top-tier starters, Strasburg would be an even-more-than-usual sought-after commodity. Despite posting the worst ERA of his career last season and missing time with a pinched nerve in his neck and shoulder inflammation, he could bet on himself to top the $25 million average annual value on his current deal.


Even if Strasburg elects not to opt-out, his potential decision to do so could be used as leverage to sign a new deal. Clayton Kershaw did that last season, as many others have started to do in recent years.

This has, statistically speaking, been Strasburg's healthiest season by workload, since 2014. He's pitched 179 innings ahead of Thursday's start against the Braves. He has a National League-leading 16 wins and strikes out five batters for every one he walks.

At the end of the 2019 season, Strasburg will have earned about $110 million in his 10 seasons with the Nationals, according to Spotrac.