Stephen Strasburg climbs the list of worst contracts in DC sports history

Almost all could be justified at the time. That’s how every bad decision usually starts, isn’t it? The Washington Wizards have not agreed to give John Wall more than $150 million to sit in street clothes. They did it because he was undoubtedly their best player, after a great season.

So when Stephen Strasburg signed his seven-year, $245 million contract in December 2019, the chants of “Stephen! Stephane!” at the national championship parade were still relatively fresh. He was, after all, the MVP of the World Series. The deal was widely celebrated as a win, though slugger Anthony Rendon entered free agency.

Like Wall, however, Strasbourg’s contract hasn’t aged well, to say the least.

With another injury last week, Strasbourg have been shut down indefinitely – meaning they’ve only pitched a total of 311/3 innings in eight games since signing that contract over three years ago. year. The deal — on the books for $35 million a year — is poised to end up among the worst in DC sports history, right alongside Wall, Albert Haynesworth and a handful of others whose chords now make fans cringe when brought up.

Investing in Strasbourg has also been accompanied by many warning signs. Even before his recent string of ailments – stemming from thoracic outlet syndrome, a nerve disorder – Strasbourg’s injury history was more than extensive. Strains, pains and surgery have caused seemingly annual trips to the injured list. The 2019 three-time All-Star — in which he led the National League with 209 innings pitched — is an outlier rather than the norm.

Still, fans wanted Strasbourg to stay. The Nationals had already lost Bryce Harper to free agency the previous year, and it’s not like Rendon continued to perform at a high level with the Los Angeles Angels. The slugger was also hit hard with injuries. “For me, he deserved this contract,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez told reporters last week, referring to Strasbourg. “He really did. You look at what he did, if it wasn’t for him we wouldn’t win a world championship. Nobody could have predicted what was going to happen.”

The same could be said, however, about other horrible contracts. Haynesworth was coming off back-to-back Pro Bowl appearances when he signed a seven-year, $100 million contract in 2010. He was considered one of the best defensive linemen in football.

Still, it didn’t take long for Haynesworth to quickly clash with the coaches. He was out of form and only played 20 games over two seasons with 6 ½ sacks. The tenure went so badly that the NFL Network called the signing the worst in a decade. Haynesworth wrote in The Players’ Tribune that if he had to start over, he would never have left the Tennesee Titans.

Wall? His career changed forever when he got out of the shower and tore his Achilles tendon. The injury eventually led the Wizards to part ways with the guard, trading him to former MVP Russell Westbrook. Wall’s career did not recover. He sat out all of last season apparently because he and the Houston Rockets couldn’t agree on a role. He has played a total of 40 games since the start of his four-year, $170 million contract at the start of the 2019-20 season.

The Wizards and Burgundy and Gold have a long history of handing out regrettable offers. Forget Wall and Haynesworth. There are many other terrible cases in hindsight. For Commanders, Deion Sanders (seven years, $56 million), Adam Archuleta (seven years, $35 million) and Jeremiah Trotter (seven years, $36 million) all fit the kind of flashy signings in the early years from owner Dan Snyder who completely backfired.

The list of wizards is equally lousy: Juwan Howard (seven years, $105 million), Gilbert Arenas (seven years, $122 million) and Ian Mahinmi (four years, $64 million). The latter was immediately recognized as a baffling decision, despite Mahinmi’s reputation as a rim protector.

Don’t get me wrong, the Washington Capitals haven’t completely skated free when it comes to bad deals either. Jaromir Jagr helped the Capitals qualify for the playoffs, but he broke the seven-year, $77 million contract Washington gave him when it acquired the Pittsburgh Penguins. Nicklas Backstrom, on a five-year, $46 million contract, could soon be on his roster depending on the status of his nagging hip injury.

As for Strasbourg, no one is attacking injuries. There are many in the district — including in the Nationals clubhouse — who are hoping the (ribs) pitcher can make a full recovery. And they also hope the 33-year-old can stay healthy after that.

But if Strasbourg are out for the season, maybe it’s best not to look at what they’ve done per innings pitched.

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