SAN DIEGO — A widely expected reunion materialized on Monday, the first day of baseball’s annual winter meetings: Stephen Strasburg, the World Series M.V.P. who had become a free agent, re-signed with the Washington Nationals.
Strasburg had exercised the opt-out of his previous contract with the Nationals, forfeiting a guaranteed $100 million over four years only to replace it with an eye-popping new deal that will pay him $245 million over seven years.
The deal broke two records: It is the most expensive contract ever given to a pitcher (beating David Price’s seven-year, $217 million deal from 2015), and it contains the highest average annual value for a pitcher (topping Zack Greinke’s $34.4 million a year, also from 2015).
Those marks might not last long, however.
Strasburg’s deal set the market for Gerrit Cole, 29, another free agent who is two years younger than Strasburg and who was arguably the best pitcher in baseball last season. The Yankees and the Los Angeles Angels, considered to be the primary contenders to sign Cole, most likely paid close attention to the figures in Strasburg’s new agreement.
“It’s very rare that a legacy for a team and a legacy for a player can, in our game, continue as this one has,” Strasburg’s agent, Scott Boras, said at a news conference on Monday to announce his client’s new deal. Boras deflected questions about Cole, one of his other clients.