Yankees: Five free agents they should pursue this offseason

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HOUSTON, TEXAS – OCTOBER 30: Stephen Strasburg #37 of the Washington Nationals is awarded MVP after his teams 6-2 victory against the Houston Astros in Game Seven to win the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 30, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

2. Stephen Strasburg

Gerrit Cole might be the best free-agent starter available this offseason, but if Stephen Strasburg was two years younger he would likely set records with his next contract as well. The 31-year-old is coming off the best season of his career and already opted out of his contract with the Nationals that would’ve paid him $100M over the next four seasons.

For Strasburg, the decision to opt-out was an easy one after the way he pitched during the regular season and in October to help the Nationals win their first World Series in franchise history. He was outstanding during their magical run going 5-0 with a 1.98 ERA and 47 K’s in 36.1 IP. In the Fall Classic, he went 2-0 with a 2.51 ERA in 14.1 IP and struck out 14 Astros en route to being named the series MVP. His incredible October helped lower his career postseason ERA to 1.46 in 55.1 IP.

Injuries have hampered Strasburg over the course of his career but this season they weren’t an issue as he made 33 starts and pitched 209 innings. He went 18-6 with a 3.32 ERA with 251 K’s and showed he’s capable of carrying a starting staff when he is healthy. He was a workhorse for the Nats all season and he’ll be rewarded for that with a mega-deal this winter. Right now MLB Trade Rumors predicts he’ll re-sign with Washington for a six-year, $180M deal, but the Nats might not be able to bring him back if they want to re-sign star 3B Anthony Rendon as well.

There’s speculation if he doesn’t re-sign with the Nats that he could sign with the Padres and return to his hometown where he grew up and went to college at San Diego St. The Yankees don’t seem likely to sign Strasburg at the moment, but that could change quickly and if they miss out on Cole they should shift all their focus to signing him to lead their starting rotation.