Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg will NOT hold a farewell press conference, owner Mark Lerner confirms amid a contract dispute with the retiree
- Strasburg, 35, has not played for Washington since June 2022 due to injury
- The 2019 World Series winner has a little less than four seasons left on his contract
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Washington Nationals owner Mark Lerner said in a statement Friday that team discussions with former World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg about his future were “misrepresented” and there are no plans yet for a retirement press conference .
The wording of the statement casts doubt on whether the 35-year-old pitcher had officially decided to retire, which several media outlets reported in late August.
A retirement press conference was scheduled for Saturday. However, The Athletic reported on Thursday that the international had offered to pay the entire remainder of Strasburg’s contract if he retired and that he then wanted to “change” the terms of the contract he agreed to.
“Stephen Strasburg is and will continue to be an important part of the Washington Nationals franchise,” Lerner said. “We support him in every decision and ensure that he receives what he is entitled to.”
“It is unfortunate that private discussions were made public by anonymous sources who attempted to negotiate through the media.” While we were following the process required by the collective agreement, preparations for a press conference had begun internally behind the scenes. However, such an event was never confirmed or publicly advertised by the team.”
Nats owner Mark Lerner refuses to hold press conference regarding Stephen Strasburg’s resignation
Lerner said in a public statement that Strasburg’s retirement plans had been “misrepresented.”
After leading the Nationals to the 2019 World Series championship, Strasburg signed a seven-year, $245 million contract ahead of next season.
However, due to injuries, he made only eight starts and pitched 31 1/3 innings while going 1-4 with a 6.89 ERA under the new contract.
Strasburg — a three-time All-Star and Baby Ruth Award winner (2019) — underwent surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome in 2021, suffered a stress reaction in his ribs last season and was sidelined with an illness in spring training this year set, which was described as severe nerve damage.
Lerner celebrates Washington’s victory over the Houston Astros in the 2022 World Series in 2019
Lerner greets Ryan Zimmerman and Stephen Strasburg (far right) at a press conference in 2018
He has not pitched in a game since June 9, 2022.
Lerner’s statement also ended with another indication that Strasburg is under contract with the club: “We hope that the ongoing discussions remain private out of respect for the people involved.”
“Until then, we look forward to seeing Stephen and reporting to Spring Training.”
Lerner’s statement also comes amid the backdrop of Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo still not having a contract extension and longtime assistant GM Johnny DiPuglia resigning.