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Reports broke last month that Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg was set to announce his retirement from Major League Baseball.
Strasburg has battled injuries after leading the Nats to the 2019 World Series with one of the most dominant postseason performances over the past few years. Shoulder problems limited the 35-year-old to just eight starts from 2020-2023, with thoracic outlet surgery ending his 2022.
The shoulder surgery cost Strasburg more than just the ability to pitch competitively; normal every day activities have reportedly become nearly impossible. And as a result, he decided to make it official, retire, and focus on his recovery.
With several seasons remaining on his 7-year contract, Strasburg was set to retire and get the rest of his deal paid out by the Nationals through 2029. The organization apparently agreed with the arrangement, with a news conference set for Saturday and a potential uniform retirement next season.
Except Thursday afternoon, the team reportedly told Strasburg it was abruptly canceling the news conference and backing out of the agreement.
Nationals Back Out Of Retirement For Stephen Strasburg
The Nationals’ decision seemingly came out of nowhere, with just a few days notice before the scheduled announcement.
Strasburg has reportedly wanted to move on, put baseball behind him and focus on getting treatment for his shoulder. The Nats don’t have much choice but to pay him out, with insurance set to cover some, but not all, of the remaining salary.
Yet they appear to have decided at the last minute that the arrangement wasn’t acceptable.
It’s unclear what they’re hoping to gain from delaying the announcement; although it’s likely a negotiation for a lower payout. But without much leverage, that doesn’t seem to be a probable outcome.
Creating acrimony between the organization, Strasburg, and his agent, Scott Boras, also doesn’t seem wise. Although Boras has a history of creating acrimony between himself and teams regardless.
It sure doesn’t seem like this story is anywhere close to over. Stay tuned.