In 2009, Stephen Strasburg signed a record contract for a player coming out of the amateur draft that paid him $15.1 million over four years. The deal came at the end of highly scrutinized negotiations, with franchise-shaping stakes. But it left an open question: What would Strasburg make the season after the contract was up?
Strasburg’s deal lasted from the 2009 season through 2012. But it also included a clause for what his salary would be in 2013 if he had not reached arbitration, according to a person familiar with the contract. Strasburg will make $3.9 million this season, which means the total guaranteed compensation for Strasburg prior to reaching arbitration – the most important figure for any draft deal – is actually $19.1 million.
Because Strasburg debuted in June 2010, he has two years and 118 days of major league service time. He missed the cutoff to earn Super Two status – an extra year of arbitration eligibility – by 21 days. (Players accrue service time while on the major league disabled list.) Strasburg will be eligible for arbitration next season, and that will be a fascinating case. For now, he’ll make the salary stipulated in his draft contract.
In the draft deal, Strasburg received a signing bonus of $7.5 million to go with a prorated salary of $400,000 for 2009, $2 million in 2010, $2.5 million in 2011 and $3 million in 2012.
This season, Strasburg went 15-6 with a 3.16 ERA and 197 strikeouts in 159 1/3 innings before the Nationals decided to shut him down for the season as he pitched his first full season following his 2010 Tommy John surgery. He will return next year without further restrictions to his workload.