Nationals co-ace Stephen Strasburg was set up for an enormous pay daythis winter. As the only impact arm in the 2016 free agent class teams needing pitching would have been forced to outbid each other for his services. However, Strasburg shocked the baseball world this week by agreeing to a seven year, $175 million extension with opt outs after
years three and four.
Those teams that would have had to outbid each other for Strasburg? They won't have many options to choose from now. The "best" available pitchers are in the graphic above, and it's difficult to determine who the best of that group even is. Many MLB teams knew this group would be this bad, which is why David Price and Zack Greinke signed record setting contract this past offseason.
With no quality arms available via free agency teams will be forced to look towards the trade market. Sonny Gray, despite his early season struggles, figures to be the most prominent name available. His services won't come cheap though. Pitching needy teams will either have to give up valuable top prospects through a trade, or settle for one of the underwhelming free agency options.
The Strasburg contract is for the same money and years that Felix Hernandez signed for back in 2013. Strasburg could have theoretically made more this offseason but after having career derailed once by Tommy John surgery he chose the security. The contract is the longest ever for a pitcher who had the surgery.