Pitchers on big and long deals with agents, absorbing major injury risks

For several reasons, I thought the seven-year, $245 million deal that the Washington Nationals signed with Stephen Strasbourg in the winter of 2019 was an impromptu deal since the jump.

In the four years prior to 2019, Strasbourg topped the 130 Tour just once, and scored an ERA of 3.46 only once. He was heading into a season at the age of 31, and while things have always been baffling to the highest degree, health and results have rarely been anywhere near a match. Yet he was getting one of the biggest promotion contracts in history. Hey, get your man, but from a team perspective, the deal just didn’t make sense to me.

But even I wasn’t expecting that in the first three years of the new decade, Strasbourg would only manage eight starts (with terrible results, to boot). There may be better and more valuable years to come, but you usually expect to get the most out of the first years in a deal like this, not the later years.

Now 34, Strasburg is trying to come back from last year’s procedure to treat thoracic outlet syndrome, with a number of relapses since then. This article is in the Washington Post He gets into a career in Strasbourg, where things went, and what he was dealing with trying to get back in, staying up the hill. It was his reading that set me on the path to discussing these issues.

This sounds pretty awful to him:

So the reality of Strasbourg is those pops in the shoulder and the smaller sensations that make it hard to play and live. Earlier this season, he couldn’t stand for long without his whole hand tingling. He was only comfortable when lying down, his right hand pressed to his chest. He used to use his left hand for basic tasks. Strasbourg has made 1,525 runs between the regular season and play-off games, each with the national team and only 31 degrees since 2019. His plan is to finish the season in a bid to regain strength and range of motion in his shoulder. Then he will hold another round of meetings with specialists to see if his outlook has improved. One of Strasbourg’s concerns, even before additional evaluations, is the potential for long-term side effects.

Imagine going through years of it, trying to get back into play so you can do more long-term damage to your arm, shoulder, and overall quality of life. We don’t often think of baseball players risking their health in the same way we might think of, say, football players. But I think we sometimes forget how much these guys put in their bodies. They do it to compete in a sport they love and to make a lot of money, so I totally get it. But you see a story like that of Strasbourg and it fills you with a lot of disparate ideas. Hopefully, the guy can get healthy, and become more than just a cautionary tale about his contract.

He said his situation should provide a reminder that the Beast contracts with older shooters who have a long history of injury problems (Other players, too, I think) can come with absolute zero risk. You might not get performance at all, let alone that Just disappointing performance.

This is the reason for having a team may be Be very careful about giving, say, Carlos Rodon – who has had major arm problems in the past – for longer than a three or four year contract. How many years can you absorb an actual zero from this player without seriously harming your competitiveness?

These decisions don’t have to be taken by risk alone – things don’t always go wrong! It was not Supposedly You get virtually no performance from the player, and instead make the best predictions about health and future outcomes. You value it accordingly, and there you go.

But I still brought up the Strasbourg story for a reason. I think the organization has to make sure it’s still in a position to compete (and spend more) even without the player if it’s going to take that kind of risk. It’s an opportunity for organizations with more theoretical payroll space to add where other organizations can’t: Use your financial advantage to take risks — as opposed to upside — that other teams won’t.

Whether the Nationals were the right team to do it at that time with Strasbourg, I think can be debated. The impact of the signature on the past three years can also be discussed.

I think the Chicago Cubs of 2023, for example, *should* be willing to take that risk on Rodon or Jacob deGrom or whoever you want to talk about at that level. In this market, you are going to have to take some serious injury risk if you want to reach for an upper arm. In doing so, the Cubs must also be prepared for the possibility that there will be years in which this arm does not contribute, and – crucially – this potential future disaster alone cannot be used as a reason not to compete overall that season. Otherwise, you don’t have to work in these types of deals in the first place.