When the offseason began, it was widely expected that a starting pitcher would be signing a record contract before the end of the winter.
David Price held the record for the highest total value with his seven-year, $217 million deal with the Boston Red Sox that he signed in December 2014. The highest average annual salary, however, belonged to Zack Greinke for the six-year, $206.5 million contract he signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks ($34.42M AAV) before being traded to the Houston Astros.
Both those records were smashed this winter, but the first one to do it wasn’t who most were expecting.
Stephen Strasburg agreed to a seven-year, $245 million deal ($35M AAV) with the Nationals on Monday that broke both Price’s and Greinke’s records. Despite having $80 million of that total deferred to after the seven years, Strasburg was the sole owner of the richest contract for a pitcher in MLB history.
That is, until the news broke just before midnight on Tuesday night that Gerrit Cole reached an agreement with the New York Yankees on a nine-year, $324 million contract that left Strasburg’s deal in the dust. Not only is his $36 million AAV be the highest of any pitcher ever, it’s also the highest of any player ever—just edging past Mike Trout’s figure of $35.54 million.
Strasburg is no longer the highest-paid pitcher in baseball, but after opting out of the remaining four seasons and $100 million left on his previous deal only to receive an additional three years and $145 million—which makes his opt-out the most successful ever—he’s probably not too disappointed.
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The Capitals (22-5-5) return to the ice Wednesday looking to erase Monday's ugly loss. A win against the Boston Bruins (20-5-6) certainly would go a long way towards erasing the memory of that loss. Tune in to NBC Sports Washington for pregame coverage starting with Caps FaceOff Live at 6 p.m. followed by Caps Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m. bringing you up to the 7 p.m. puck drop on NBCSN. Tune back to NBC Sports Washington after the game for Caps Postgame Live, D.C. Sports Live and Caps Overtime Live.
Here's what you need to know for Wednesday's game.
No line changes
Monday was a tough loss, but when you have been playing as well as the Caps are there is no reason to overreact. Based on the morning skate there were no line changes from Monday's game.
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie
Carl Hagelin - Lars Eller - Richard Panik
Brendan Leipsic - Nic Dowd - Garnet Hathaway
Michal Kempny - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Nick Jensen
Jonas Siegenthaler - Radko Gudas
Braden Holtby starts
A battle of the top teams
This game will feature the top two teams in the league according to the standings. Washington sits atop the NHL with 49 points while the Bruins sit just behind them with 46. Boston has a game in hand so while a loss for the Caps tonight would not technically drop them to second place, it would give Boston the inside track on passing them in the near future.
You are going to hear the phrase "measuring stick" a lot before and after this game.
Forget about Monday
Washington dropped Monday's game 5-2 at home to Columbus. Yikes. That is not the way you want to go into a big matchup, but hey, the Bruins are in the same boat. Boston lost on Monday 5-2 to the Ottawa Senators so both teams are coming into this game off a bad loss.
When last we met
The Caps and Bruins met once this season already back on Nov. 16 in a game that would result in a crazy shootout victory for Washington. T.J. Oshie scored a last-minute goal to tie the game in regulation and Jakub Vrana would win it in a shootout with this absolute gem:
.@JVranaa delivers absolute filth pic.twitter.com/TTn3hh5YJn— NBC Sports Capitals (@NBCSCapitals) November 17, 2019
Pastrnak may end Ovechkin's Rocket Richard run
Ovechkin has won the last two Rocket Richard Trophies as the league's top goal scorer and six of the last seven. David Pastrnak may finally end that run this season. Pastrnak currently leads the league with 25 goals. He hit 25 goals in his 27th game which made some wonder if he could hit the fabled 50 in 50 mark, but he currently finds himself in a four-game goalless drought, his longest drought of the season.
Ovechkin sits second with 21 so he remains well within striking distance.
The Caps have owned the Bruins lately
Washington lost to Boston on Feb. 3, 2019. That was the first time the Bruins had beaten the Caps since 2014. Washington has completely owned Boston in this matchup with the Caps winning 15 of the last 16 games they have played one another. While Tuukka Rask may be one of the top netminders in the league, Washington sure seems to have his number. He is a woeful 2-11-5 against the Caps with a .889 save percentage and 3.10 GAA.
That probably is why Washington played Jaroslav Halak the last time they met and why Halak will be getting the start again on Wednesday.
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