Strasburg signs record contract – Impact on Cole, AL East and Tampa Bay Rays
By Seth Carter
Now that Strasburg re-signed with the Nationals, how does Gerrit Cole’s landing spot affect the Tampa Bay Rays?
Stephen Strasburg has come to an agreement with the Washington Nationals, locking him in through his age-37 season for $245 million. The deal is worth an annual average salary of $35 million. Strasburg’s AAV is worth 67.3% of the Tampa Bay Rays’ Opening Day payroll (for the 25-man roster) in 2019.
The total of $245 million and the average value make Strasburg the highest paid pitcher in the history of baseball, on both accounts. That is, until Gerrit Cole signs.
Previous rumors had Cole going for something in that range. The Yankees were rumored to have been pursuing the Cole-train with bags of money.
According to NY Times’s Bob Klapisch, The New York Yankees have already offered Cole a seven-year, $245 million contract, the exact contract Strasburg ended up with. If that is the number the Yankees had written down on the napkin before sliding it over to Gerrit Cole, you have to think that he has already blown his nose on it and slid it back.
My how things have changed. The bidding is heating up on Cole, as he is the last true elite pitcher on the market. Cole is clearly the prize of the free agent market and a $300 million contract is looking like a real possibility.
Teams rumored to be in on Cole all have deep pockets. The Angels, the Dodgers, and the Yankees have all been linked to Gerrit Cole. The Yankees have been reported as being all in on the strikeout artist.
If Cole ends up in the AL-East, it can make like pretty difficult for the Rays in 2020. The Yankees rotation would look considerably more intimidating with Gerrit Cole at the top.
Imagine Gerrit Cole, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and Domingo German. Yikes!
Here is a fun fact about Strasburg and Cole’s contracts compared to the Tampa Bay Rays entire team.
- Strasburg and Cole’s AAV in 2020 will be in excess of $70MM.
- The Rays opened 2019 with $52 million on the books for their 25-man roster.
Stay tuned Rays fans. Let’s hope Gerrit Cole takes his 326 strikeouts to Los Angeles.
If the Yankees sign Gerrit Cole does it spell certain doom? Will our rotation pale in comparison? Let us know in the comments below!