Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg to retire after injury-plagued seasons: reports

Stephen Strasburg, a World Series hero for the Washington Nationals, is set to retire at age 35, according to reports.

The right-handed pitcher was the MVP of the 2019 World Series, which the Nationals won in seven games over the Houston Astros. Injuries, however, have limited Strasburg to only eight starts since then, and none this season.

The Nationals haven’t made an announcement but scheduled a press conference for Sept. 9, according to The Washington Post, which was first to report the news.

Strasburg boasts a 113-62 record, a 3.24 ERA and 1,723 strikeouts in 1,470 innings over 13 MLB seasons.

The Nationals selected Strasburg first overall in the 2009 MLB Draft after a standout college career at San Diego State. Strasburg made his MLB debut the following year but required Tommy John surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his elbow after 12 starts as a rookie.

By 2012, Strasburg was a staple of the Washington rotation, making three All-Star teams and finishing within the top 10 of Cy Young Award voting three times through 2019.

Strasburg posted career-highs with 18 wins and 251 strikeouts during the 2019 regular season, during which he eclipsed 200 innings for the second time. He was even more dominant during that postseason, going 5-0 in six starts, including 2-0 in the World Series.

Weeks after the championship, Strasburg signed a seven-year, $245 million contract to remain with Washington. He only made two starts during the COVID-shortened 2020 season due to the injuries, however, and required thoracic outlet syndrome surgery the following year.

Strasburg made one start last season, surrendering seven runs in a June loss to the Miami Marlins, and experienced multiple setbacks from the thoracic outlet syndrome this year.

He has three years at $35 million annually left on his contract after the 2023 season. The investment in Strasburg was a big one for the Nationals, who in recent years lost Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon in free agency and traded Juan Soto before he’s due a massive payday.

News of Strasburg’s retirement came hours after another high-profile star, the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani, was shut down from pitching for the rest of the season due to a torn UCL. It’s unclear if the two-way sensation Ohtani, an impending free agent, will require his second Tommy John surgery since 2018 and if he will continue to hit this season.