The Nationals have re-signed Stephen Strasburg to a seven-year, $245 million dollar deal that set at least a temporary record with $35 million in average annual value. The deal is well above what most predicted Strasburg would fetch on the open market and it continues a strong run of early free agent deals exceeding crowd-sourced predictions.
Stephen Strasburg’s deal with the Nationals is absolutely massive. It sets a new record for average annual value at $35 million a year. While there are deferrals, per source, the $245 million number could have a profound effect on the Gerrit Cole market. Is it $300M or bust now?
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 9, 2019
With 15 of the top 50 free agent now signed, average contracts have surpassed expectations by an average of $14 million in total value $1.67 million of AAV. Some of this discrepancy is likely a function of pessimistic predictions following two sluggish free agency periods, but it also may mean that teams are finally spending. If so, the 2019 free agent market may save baseball from a 2022 strike.
Either that or the owners are collectively lulling the union into a false sense of security before the two sides head to the collective bargaining table.