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Stephen Strasburg will burn through service time while on DL

Aug 27, 2010, 12:17 PM EDT

I hate to spread more icing on the Nationals’ bad news cake, but a side effect of Stephen Strasburg likely needing Tommy John elbow surgery is that he would burn through service time while on the disabled list.
In other words, even if he never throws a pitch in 2011 and spends the entire season on the 60-day disabled list Strasburg will use up one season of pre-arbitration status. That will push him one season closer to a raise via the arbitration process and, far more importantly, one season closer to becoming a free agent.
Or, put another way, because of the surgery the Nationals will likely go from having Strasburg under team control for six full seasons to having him under team control for five full seasons. And all after they so clearly (and smartly) manipulated the start of his service time clock by keeping him in the minors until mid-June.
Of course, the wasted service time really only becomes a big factor if Strasburg returns from surgery and re-establishes himself as an ace, in which case the Nationals will surely still be thrilled with the outcome even if they lost a year.

  1. Chris Fiorentino - Aug 27, 2010 at 12:37 PM

    I’m not sure I follow you here. Are you saying he gains an extra year of service by being on the DL? Or are you saying that he is still 6 years away, but one of those years includes him not pitching for the team because of injury? If it is the former, then I need to know why that is. If it is the latter, then who really gives a crap about this, since he is still under the team’s control next year and it isn’t his fault that he got injured.
    Unless I am completely missing the point, which is possible ;)

  2. cpsmith23 - Aug 27, 2010 at 12:53 PM

    Adam Kilgore from the Washington Post is reporting that Strasburg will NOT accrue service time while on the 60-day DL: (http://voices.washingtonpost.com/nationalsjournal/)
    I’m not sure what to believe – can anyone provide some clarification on this?

  3. Chris Fiorentino - Aug 27, 2010 at 12:57 PM

    I don’t know why he would not accrue service time…he got hurt pitching. It would be patently unfair to not accrue service time, in my humble opinion.

  4. Jonny5 - Aug 27, 2010 at 1:14 PM

    I think they aren’t a playoff team in 2011 anyway, so nothing will really change from where it is now anyway. I don’t think they plan on making a run until at least 2012. They already expected to lose control of him after 6 seasons, they’ll just have a blank by his name for next year, which most likely will be a .500 team at best.

  5. Preston - Aug 27, 2010 at 1:16 PM

    Everything I’ve read says that Kilgore is wrong about this. The only way I could see it being different is if they optioned him back to the minors before putting him on the DL, but that seems like a shady move that probably isn’t legal under the CBA – simpler explanation is that Kilgore simply didn’t do his research very thoroughly, given that service time is not the focus of the article.

  6. Chris Fiorentino - Aug 27, 2010 at 1:24 PM

    Yeah, this entire post is a little deceiving because it makes it sound like Strasburg gets an advantage by being on the DL next year, when he actually does not. This is a pretty stupid and meaningless post, actually, and it only further enhances the need for Craig to get his ass back here ASAP.

  7. JBerardi - Aug 27, 2010 at 2:11 PM

    Shady or not, if they can option him back to the minors and avoid the service time, they have to do it. Dude got a fifteen million dollar bonus, so this is one situation where I don’t mind telling the guy to “suck it up”.

  8. Ditto65 - Aug 27, 2010 at 9:13 PM

    Strasburg does not gain an advantage, but the Nats find themselves at a disadvantage, since they lose a year of sevice on the cheap (pre-arbitration/free agency).

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