- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 11, 2020

The Washington Nationals need pitching help, but two of the bigger-named free agents are now off the market.

Marcus Stroman accepted his one-year, $18.9 million qualifying offer to re-sign with the New York Mets. Stroman, 29, opted out of the 2020 season due to coronavirus concerns, but carries a career 3.76 ERA.

San Francisco starter Kevin Gausman also accepted his $18.9 million qualifying offers Wednesday.

Washington will likely be in pursuit of a fourth starter this offseason after not picking up Anibal Sanchez’s option. After a solid first year with the Nationals in 2019, Sanchez regressed heavily this past season — posting a career-high 6.62 ERA in 11 starts. The Nationals’ starters struggled as a whole with Stephen Strasburg (wrist) shelved and the lack of a reliable fifth starter.

Washington general manager Mike Rizzo places a priority on starting pitching, and typically, his teams are built on the strength of its rotation. When the Nationals won the World Series in 2019, for example, Washington relied heavily on Max Scherzer, Strasburg and Patrick Corbin.

Stroman was acquired by the Mets from Toronto on July 28, 2019, for a pair of pitchers. He went 4-2 with a 3.77 ERA in 11 starts for the Mets, leaving his career record at 51-47 with 3.76 ERA.

In a tweet, Stroman said he was excited to rejoin the Mets and new owner Steve Cohen.

“After watching the presser, I’m beyond excited to play for you sir,” Stroman posted on Twitter. “I could feel the excitement and passion you’re going to bring daily. Let’s go be great!” 

Four players declined qualifying offers at the 5 p.m. deadline: right-hander Trevor Bauer from Cincinnati, outfielder George Springer from Houston, second baseman DJ LeMahieu from the New York Yankees and catcher J.T. Realmuto from Philadelphia.

Gausman signed a $9 million, one-year contract with San Francisco as a free agent last December and earned $3,333,333 in prorated pay while going 3-3 with a 3.62 ERA in 10 starts and two relief appearances. He struck out 79 and walked 16 in 59 2/3 innings. Gausman has a 50-66 record and 4.26 in nine seasons with Baltimore, Atlanta and San Francisco.

Based in part on wire service reports. 

• Matthew Paras can be reached at mparas@washingtontimes.com.

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