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It’s apparently idiotic to suggest that the Nationals would be better off with Strasburg

Sep 3, 2012, 9:16 AM EDT

Stephen Strasburg AP

I realize what’s going to be done is what’s going to be done, that the Nationals have their reasons, and that most Nationals fans are either perfectly fine with this or are at least resigned to it.  But it must be noted that we truly are in something of a crazy world with respect to the impending Stephen Strasburg shutdown.

The pushback against the critical voices has gotten so insistent that it has transformed from “hey, this is not ideal but it’s in the best interests of Strasburg and the team” into something quite close to “the Nationals are better off without him and anyone who says otherwise is stupid!”

Take Thomas Boswell’s column from yesterday. It’s practically strident. After describing the Nats team as dominant, then revealing that he had taken Strasburg’s numbers out of that analysis, he says:

The four-man rotation, primed for October that I’ve described is Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Edwin Jackson and Ross Detwiler. So all of the pundits who say the Nats can’t go to the Series or even win it, just because they won’t have Strasburg, can kiss my press pass.

Yeah, it’s totally crazy to think that the team is better with one of the best pitchers in baseball.  In a postseason where anything can happen, and where nine of the ten teams who enter will not leave alive, it’s always the case that the best on-paper team wins it. The ones who lose never ever wish that they had an extra ace pitcher at their disposal. It’s ludicrous to suggest otherwise and it’s totally reasonable to describe the team that is left as “hegemonic” and “dominant” like Boswell does here. Nope, that never, ever looks silly later.

The Strasburg Sitters have won. He will sit, and none of us who think it’s a bad idea to sit him will get our way.  But I do wish that the Strasburg Sitters would acknowledge that in their very own division, a Phillies team with three legitimate Cy Young quality pitchers and a fourth who recently had been were bounced in the NLDS last year.  That a Braves team with three future Hall of Fame starters only broke through to win it once in a decade and a half.

And that no matter how loudly you call the rest of us dumb and how rudely you ask us to “kiss your press pass,” that simple odds favor the field over your dominant Washington Nationals and that any team, no matter how good, is much, much better off with Stephen Strasburg on it than off of it come playoff time.

  1. danaking - Sep 3, 2012 at 9:25 AM

    This is what happens in a country where “trickle-down economics” is still a legitimate theory, even though it’s had thirty years to work and has not done so. Whether or not Strasburg should be shut down, there’s no way the Nats are as good without him. If that were the case, why hasn’t he been the fifth starter, or at AAA? The other pitchers are just as good, if they won’t miss him.

  2. goskinsvt - Sep 3, 2012 at 9:26 AM

    lol who is suggesting that sitting Strasburg increases the Nats’ odds in the playoffs? Certainly not Boswell in that article. He’s saying that the Nats have enough talent without him to do something in the playoffs, which is true.

    • Gardenhire's Cat - Sep 3, 2012 at 2:05 PM

      Exactly. As Boswell explicitly acknowledges: “The Nats are better with Strasburg, his 15-6 record and 2.94 ERA. But they aren’t enormously better. In his last 13 starts, the Nats are 7-6 and his ERA in that span (3.80) is only fourth out of five in the rotation.”

      Yet Calcaterra writes: “Yeah, it’s totally crazy to think that the team is better with one of the best pitchers in baseball.”

  3. Craig Calcaterra - Sep 3, 2012 at 9:31 AM

    He’s saying you’re an idiot if you suggest that the Nationals without Strasburg aren’t still an overwhelming favorite to win it all. Which is … pretty idiotic.

    • voteforno6 - Sep 3, 2012 at 9:43 AM

      At which point did he write that? Perhaps here:

      “But, even without Strasburg, the Nats are still neck-and-neck with the Reds, perhaps just a bit behind, as the best overall team in the NL.

      Once you’re that good, anything can happen. No matter what anybody says.”

      That’s quite a bit different from what you wrote. Are they that good? It’s debatable, but not out of the realm of possibility. And it’s entirely possible for the Nats to go deep without Strasburg. After all, the Cardinals won it all last year without Adam Wainwright. If the Braves go deep in the postseason this year, they’ll do it without their best pitcher (Brandon Beachy).

    • washingtonnaturals - Sep 3, 2012 at 10:01 AM

      What is truly idiotic is the skewed incentives in baseball (not just professional but college ball – where teams now play 70-80 games a year) to burn out young pitchers. Boswell’s column the day before cited post-1990 evidence collected by Boras showing an almost perfect inverse correlation between the number of innings pitched before the age of 25 and career length – those that pitched more than 500 innnings – eg your favorite Steve Avery – had short careers. What the Nationals are doing should become the norm, despite the howls of an industry vested in hyping the moment. Two more pre-1990 names for the discussion – Denny McClain and Warren Spahn. McClain pitched over 1200 innings by the time he was 25. Yes he had that glorious year of 1968 when he took the Tigers all the way with his 31 wins and 336 innings. After one more good year he was basically done. And we all know what happened after that – have a nice life Denny. Spahn by contrast, ran into a little delay called WWII, and did not really start his career until the age of 25. The result was 360 wins, over half of which, 187, came from the age of 35 on. He was 23-7 at the age of 42. Boswell is right – the Nats have the guns to make a good showing in the playoffs without Strasburg. You are right that the team would be a bit better with him. But you are dead wrong in implying that the Nats are doing the wrong thing.

      • lumpyf - Sep 3, 2012 at 10:39 AM

        You mention Steve Avery yet conveniently leave out Maddox, Smoltz and Glavine all who had well over 500 innings before the age of 24. All 3 going to the HoF. How about King Felix – well over 1000 innings by age 24. I’m with Calcaterra on this one.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 3, 2012 at 10:40 AM

        There is so much wrong with Boras’s study, I don’t even know where to begin. First, throwing 1500 innings after age 30 would mean the person is most likely pitching into their age 37 season. How often does that happen? Second, for a person to pitch into their age 37 season, they’ve most likely been extremely lucky with injuries, so it’s survivorship bias you’ve now introduced. Lastly, why start at 1990 when bref data goes back a hundred years?

        When he goes back to 1983, he adds this caveat:

        Boras then found a list of pitchers between 1983 and 2003 who had thrown at least 600 innings before their age 24 season. Of the 12 pitchers who fit that criteria, 11 did not exceed 1,000 innings following their 30th birthday.

        That’s a ton of innings pitched after age 30!

        When you introduce a study to make a point, the goal is to get as many into the sample as possible. Boras has created such specific criteria that he only gets a few individuals out of thousands, thus skewing the data. This is how we end up with statements like, Odalis Perez is the next Sandy Koufax.

        It’s like asking a lawyer to provide baseball commentary. Oh wait… :)

      • natstowngreg - Sep 3, 2012 at 11:32 AM

        In a study to make a point, the real goal is to define the universe so the results help you make your point. At least, that’s the case when you’re producing a study to support a particular interest. If that sounds cynical, it’s based on having to review numerous studies paid for by special interests, or done to support specific ideological or policy views.

        Boras does a study to support what he thinks will serve his client’s (and, indirectly, his) interests. In this case, his study supports sitting Strasburg, to improve the chances of Strasburg having a long, lucrative career. That is Boras’ job.

      • jgreiner9 - Sep 3, 2012 at 11:46 AM

        he’s 24 and has thrown 248 1/3 innings. by the time he’s 25 he’ll still be under 500. smoltz, maddux, glavine had pretty long and successful careers pitching that much at that age…as well as nolan ryan who pitched 1120 innings by the time he was 25. Roger Clemens with 767 1/3 by the time he was 25. felix hernandez is well over 1000 innings pitched by the time he turned 25. Sabathia was at 973 1/3 innings pitched by the time he was 25. roy halladay, zach greinke, matt cain, cole hammels (543 innings in first 3 seasons), justin verlander, tim lincecum, johnny cueto, clayton kershaw (909 innings and is only 24) were all or are all over 500 innings by the time they turned 25. The list can go on and on but you get the idea. there is not enough substantial evidence that points to strasburg being put in harms way by pitching 500 innings by the time he’s 25. if that was so should they take into account the innings he pitched in college and high school too or should we just restart the counter after his tommy john? although the tommy john only fixed his elbow but what about the wear and tear on his rotator and shoulder?

      • bigleagues - Sep 3, 2012 at 12:27 PM

        Church,

        You just know I couldn’t sit by forever and not try to verify Boras’ “list”. And having just done the most cursory examination I’m already inclined to call bullshit on Boras.

        My caveat: Baseball-Reference is a tad ambiguous when it comes to searching by age. The search function states “before Age 24″ but the search result then lists Age up to 24. This is likely the result of the mid-season cut-off for determining what ‘age’ a players season is, but never-the-less it represents some fine-combed semantics by Boras when his list is 12 the B-R list that is produced is 27 deep.

        Obviously, to properly analyze this list, it would take more than just compiling it and posting it here, but I just wanted to present some context to Boras claim that there were only 12 pitchers between 1983-2003, before their age 24 season that pitched at least 600IP and that 11 of those 12 did not exceed 1,000 Innings after Age 30:

                                                                                             
        Rk                Player     IP From   To   Age CG   W  L W-L%  ER  BB   SO  ERA ERA+
        1          Dwight Gooden 1291.0 1984 1989 19-24 52 100 39 .719 379 379 1168 2.64  132
        2        Bret Saberhagen 1066.2 1984 1988 20-24 40  69 55 .556 414 215  677 3.49  120
        3            Steve Avery  918.0 1990 1994 20-24 10  58 39 .598 365 279  588 3.58  110
        4            Greg Maddux  911.0 1986 1990 20-24 26  60 53 .531 373 319  540 3.68  106
        5         Alex Fernandez  884.2 1990 1994 20-24 16  51 45 .531 381 289  592 3.88  107
        6             Jim Abbott  847.0 1989 1992 21-24 20  47 52 .475 328 287  508 3.49  113
        7          Ismael Valdez  821.2 1994 1998 20-24  8  52 40 .565 295 228  613 3.23  120
        8    Fernando Valenzuela  790.1 1983 1985 22-24 35  44 37 .543 269 306  637 3.06  115
        9           Mark Gubicza  788.2 1984 1987 21-24 17  49 48 .505 345 356  494 3.94  108
        10        Javier Vazquez  768.1 1998 2001 21-24 10  41 43 .488 385 225  656 4.51  100
        11         Roger Clemens  767.1 1984 1987 21-24 36  60 22 .732 263 216  694 3.08  141
        12           Storm Davis  754.1 1983 1986 21-24 26  46 36 .561 308 254  419 3.67  109
        13          Mark Buehrle  742.0 2000 2003 21-24 11  53 35 .602 306 189  416 3.71  124
        14        Ramon Martinez  739.2 1988 1992 20-24 21  52 37 .584 273 268  586 3.32  107
        15           John Smoltz  733.0 1988 1991 21-24 16  42 42 .500 303 272  523 3.72  103
        16            Andy Benes  713.1 1989 1992 21-24  8  44 39 .530 264 220  542 3.33  112
        17         Sidney Ponson  705.1 1998 2001 21-24 15  34 44 .436 384 242  433 4.90   94
        18           Jose Rosado  692.2 1996 1999 21-24 11  35 43 .449 324 228  469 4.21  115
        19             Jose Rijo  675.0 1984 1989 19-24  6  39 44 .470 290 321  601 3.87   98
        20        Pedro Martinez  671.0 1992 1996 20-24  7  48 31 .608 253 239  665 3.39  124
        21            Brad Radke  652.2 1995 1997 22-24  9  42 40 .512 325 152  397 4.48  108
        22             Mike Witt  650.2 1983 1985 22-24 17  37 34 .521 278 257  453 3.85  106
        23            Tom Gordon  649.2 1988 1992 20-24  8  44 46 .489 284 334  611 3.93  101
        24           Tom Glavine  646.0 1987 1990 21-24  8  33 41 .446 308 214  323 4.29   89
        25         Ryan Dempster  639.1 1998 2001 21-24  4  37 35 .514 328 340  541 4.62   93
        Rk                Player     IP From   To   Age CG   W  L W-L%  ER  BB   SO  ERA ERA+
        26         Sid Fernandez  626.2 1983 1987 20-24  8  43 30 .589 238 279  585 3.42  106
        27          Kevin Appier  623.1 1989 1992 21-24 12  41 30 .577 215 195  445 3.10  129
        

        Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool UsedGenerated 9/3/2012.

        Also, here is a list only 8 deep, using the same search criteria as above except setting the age at ’23′:

                                                                                            
        Rk            Player     IP From   To   Age CG SHO  W  L W-L%  ER  BB   SO  ERA ERA+
        1      Dwight Gooden 1172.2 1984 1988 19-23 52  19 91 35 .722 341 332 1067 2.62  134
        2    Bret Saberhagen  806.0 1984 1987 20-23 31   8 55 39 .585 304 156  506 3.39  126
        3        Steve Avery  766.1 1990 1993 20-23  9   5 50 36 .581 297 224  466 3.49  112
        4     Alex Fernandez  714.1 1990 1993 20-23 12   3 40 38 .513 308 239  470 3.88  104
        5        Greg Maddux  674.0 1986 1989 20-23 18   5 45 38 .542 282 248  396 3.77  102
        6      Ismael Valdez  647.2 1994 1997 20-23  6   2 41 30 .577 218 162  491 3.03  127
        7         Jim Abbott  636.0 1989 1991 21-23 13   4 40 37 .519 263 219  378 3.72  106
        8        Storm Davis  600.1 1983 1985 21-23 24   4 37 24 .607 246 205  323 3.69  107
        

        Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool UsedGenerated 9/3/2012.

    • 18thstreet - Sep 3, 2012 at 10:03 AM

      They really should have traded him for a 1st baseman.

      • natstowngreg - Sep 3, 2012 at 10:20 AM

        Nah, they should have traded him for a center fielder. Then they could have kept that teenager, whatshisname, at Syracuse to learn how to play the outfield.

  4. voteforno6 - Sep 3, 2012 at 9:36 AM

    That is quite a misreading of what Boswell wrote in that column. His point is that the Nationals will still have a pretty good team without Strasburg. At no point did he write that the team would be better without him, or did he imply it.. If I had to venture a guess, the reason why people are getting so strident about this is that this has been out there for a long time, and the team has been very open about why they are handling it the way that they are. Every objection that has been raised to the shutdown has already been addressed. Many critics of this move seem to be totally ignorant of that, and I think this is getting to be rather irritating to Boswell and others.

  5. boredfriday - Sep 3, 2012 at 9:51 AM

    I refuse to believe this is happening and I won’t spend any more effort thinking about this issue. Call me in the unlikely event that he’s not on the NLDS roster. Until then, it’s all BS.

    • natstowngreg - Sep 3, 2012 at 10:32 AM

      If Strasburg is on the playoff roster, the Nats’ organization will be in real trouble. Mike Rizzo would lose trust, not only among us fans, but within MLB. Hard to see how he could function as a GM after that.

      But that’s not the type of guy Mike Rizzo is. When he says he’s going to do something, he tends to do it. While sometimes getting in trouble due to a stubborn streak and lack of communication (see last season’s Riggleman Affair).

  6. natinals10 - Sep 3, 2012 at 9:53 AM

    I agree with the overall theme of your post Craig but isn’t it a little pot calling kettle. How many times have you called those who think sitting is a good idea stupid?

  7. bigleagues - Sep 3, 2012 at 9:56 AM

    Never has Craig filed a more poignant blog post when it was more needed.

    Booyah, Natitude! BOO-YAH!

  8. bigleagues - Sep 3, 2012 at 10:03 AM

    Here’s another thing I want add.

    When you remove remove a pitcher of Strasburg’s caliber from your rotation, you aren’t simply removing the numbers he put up. His loss is likely to have a cascading effect on the rest of the pitching staff.

    And with 3 or so turns through the rotation, that’s gonna put a lot of pressure on John Lannan to keep the life raft afloat. If he falters, that puts even more pressure on the likes of Edwin Jackson and Ross Detwiler to not stumble in their final starts, as well as the bullpen.

    And that is not a recipe for success heading into the post-season.

    As I’ve set before . . . Mike Rizzo has a set at least as big as this guy’s:

  9. willclarkgameface - Sep 3, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    Now I get it. THIS is why they kept John Lannan in AAA for most of the year: to save his arm. Apparently, he’s not a guy in need of working on his mechanics, but he’s the ace in the hole, someone that couldn’t pitch in the show because he’s TOO special.

    Nice try Washington. I hope you lose BIG this year. And next. And the year after that.

    • natstowngreg - Sep 3, 2012 at 11:14 AM

      You do not deserve a response, but I’ll respond for the benefit of others who might be wondering.

      John Lannan is a mediocre MLB starting pitcher. He had been near the top of the Nats’ rotation because there were no alternatives. This spring, he was caught in a numbers game for the 5th starter role with Chien-Ming Wang and Ross Detwiler. Detwiler was kept as a lefty long reliever over Lannan because Detwiler didn’t have an option left, and Lannan did. Also, because Detwiler was young and promising, and Lannan was not. Lannan has labored in Syracuse because the Nats’ 1-4 starters have not missed starts (which is, in itself, remarkable). He is quite capable of putting together a handful of decent starts in September.

      • natslady - Sep 3, 2012 at 11:35 AM

        What I don’t get is the venom. It’s like, you aren’t trying because you don’t send guys out there to get concussion after concussion???? Or in this case, to ruin a possible Cy Young and Hall-of-Fame career to have a SLIGHTLY better chance at one WS? You can disagree with the decision, you can say it could have been “handled better,” but why–when the team is doing its best for the player’s health and the team’s future–do you hate on the Nats? Even the future Nats? It’s like some kind of bloodlust, I guess. I can’t figure it out.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 3, 2012 at 12:04 PM

        @natslady

        because most people can’t see the forest for the trees. It’s easy to question the nats when neither decision is guaranteed to protect him.

        The anger just standard internet anonymity crap

      • bigleagues - Sep 3, 2012 at 1:56 PM

        Not to be nitpicky, but calling Detwiler young in comparison to Lannan is akin to claiming the Nationals rotation is just as good without Strasburg in it.

        Detwiler is 26, Lannan is 27 . . . they are separated by 18 months in age.

        Here is where I’ll throw my impartiality hat back on . . . Lannan could still end up being a pretty good Major League starter. He is, in fact, capable of stringing together good starts for the Nats down the stretch. We’ll see.

        The biggest reason it fleshed out the way it did was as Greg stated . . . Lannan had an option, Detwiler did not. Otherwise all things being equal I think the Nats would have elected to go with experience and come out of ST with Lannan in the rotation.

  10. psunick - Sep 3, 2012 at 10:22 AM

    Other than the media, nobody seems to early give a damn.

    Do even any Nats fans care about this?

    • natstowngreg - Sep 3, 2012 at 10:44 AM

      We do. No one likes the situation. A lot of us are impatient and want to risk Strasburg now. I understand that, and am not unsympathetic. A lot of fans (myself included) are more patient and look toward winning in the longer run. But those who yell the loudest, demanding that Strasburg pitch, are not Nats fans. They have no interest in the team’s future.

    • natslady - Sep 3, 2012 at 11:12 AM

      Not much. We thrashed this out months ago. There are some Nats fans who are dissenting voices, and you have to respect that, but the other people, you are not paying customers. Whether the Nats win or lose, you will go on to the next Red Sox scandal, and we will still be here.

      And Craig, apparently, either CAN’T READ or believes in selective quotes to bolster his case.

      Yes, the Nats would be better off with Stras. No one argues that. He’s better than Detwiler or John Lannan, possibly better than Zimmermann (consistent, but maybe tiring and over-hyped) or Edwin Jackson (experienced but inconsistent)… He’s not better than our Ace, Gio, in my opinion. And the Nats have plenty of other assets, such as good offense and good defense.

      Honestly, the edge the Nats lose by shutting Stras down could be gained back by HOLDING RUNNERS ON BASE. :)

      • natslady - Sep 3, 2012 at 11:16 AM

        By over-hyped, I meant JZ has had too much adrenaline going, not that he was “over-hyped” by the media… JZ said that himself, that he was overthrowing. This is the first time these guys have smelled the kind of pressure that comes with “meaningful games in September.” It’s gonna be fun, and I refuse to let the national media take away our FUN!!!

        I’m going to the game Friday and I hope everyone in town goes, I hope they are streaming down 1/2 Street to let Stras know how much we love him, how much we support him, and how glad we will be to see him next season.

  11. keithbangedyermom - Sep 3, 2012 at 10:26 AM

    Can’t wait until they lose so I can say “told ya so.”

    • Old Gator - Sep 3, 2012 at 10:42 AM

      Yeah, that’s apparently just the kind of classy guy you are. Don’t you ever feel guilty for taking up space?

      • natstowngreg - Sep 3, 2012 at 10:47 AM

        C’mon Gator, you know the answer to your own question. Posting anonymous trash on blogs is a guilt-free pleasure.

      • natslady - Sep 3, 2012 at 11:30 AM

        With that handle, you are looking for guilt? LOL

  12. umdred11 - Sep 3, 2012 at 10:43 AM

    “hey, this is not ideal but it’s in the best interests of Strasburg and the team” into something quite close to “the Nationals are better off without him and anyone who says otherwise is stupid!”

    Do you have another example besides a Tom Boswell article, Craig?

    • natstowngreg - Sep 3, 2012 at 10:55 AM

      Thanks for getting to the bottom line of why Craig’s post is both lame and disappointing. Boswell doesn’t represent Nats Town.

      Conveniently, Craig didn’t mention those voices (including on this here blog right here) who claim to know what we Nats fans think, or should think. That somehow, we should rise up in righteous indignation and storm the front office, demanding that Strasburg pitch. Never mind that said front office has brought the team to the top echelon of MLB in 3 seasons.

  13. hushbrother - Sep 3, 2012 at 10:45 AM

    Easy, Craig. Boswell’s too easy a target. He went off the deep end years ago. Attacking him is like beating up an old man in a wheelchair.

    • natslady - Sep 3, 2012 at 11:18 AM

      Actually, Craig’s the easy target in this case.

  14. charlutes - Sep 3, 2012 at 11:16 AM

    stop whining

  15. schmedley69 - Sep 3, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    Thomas Boswell is proof that a columnist can say anything that he wants, no matter how wrong or crazy it is, and never be held accountable, keeping his job for years. That guy is a certified loon who writes complete nonsense. If you disagree with him he’ll call you a “nincompoop.” Strange, strange guy.

    I don’t see how D.C. can call itself a sports town when Thomas Boswell is their lead sports columnist.

    • natslady - Sep 3, 2012 at 11:21 AM

      We don’t call ourselves a sports town. We call ourselves “The Nation’s Capital.” We are learning to be a baseball town, and we need a few years to do that, thankyouverymuch, not just one and done.

    • raysfan1 - Sep 3, 2012 at 11:56 AM

      Boswell is a homer,that’s all. He was at the WP even when I was a kid in DC in the 1970s.

      • nolanwiffle - Sep 4, 2012 at 9:12 AM

        Boswell grew up in DC, going to Redskins and Senators games at Griffith Stadium…..so yea, he’s a “homer”. He’s also one of the best sports writers out there at the moment.

  16. shawndc04 - Sep 3, 2012 at 11:38 AM

    Craig, is this the last time that you are going to write about this? I hope so because it’s really gotten old. Santa has jumped down the chimney, so do us all a favor and get over it.

  17. raysfan1 - Sep 3, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    “I don’t think he’s going to fight me on it,” Rizzo said. “I think he’s going to be unhappy about it. I know he’ll be unhappy about it. He’s an ultimate competitor, but we’ve taken that out of his hand.”
    “I’m just focused on the next start. That’s all I can really focus on right now,” (Strasburg) said. “I’m here with these guys, and we’ve still got a long way to go, but I’m going to fight with them ‘til the end.”

    The above quotes are from a Washington Times article today. The GM, manager, and player have apparently not discussed this face-to-face recently. Sounds to me like Strasburg might fight Rizzo on it. He’s a competitor, so of course he is going to want the ball every 5 days and will be very upset if he gets left off the postseason roster. Anyone would. This is a dynamic that really bears watching the next few weeks. How they handle Strasburg emotionally is at least as important as how they handle his arm.

    I still think they would be better off having him skip every other start, keep his arm warm, and let him pitch in the playoffs.

    • shawndc04 - Sep 3, 2012 at 11:53 AM

      Davey Johnson told him face to face on the plane ride home from the last road trip.

      • raysfan1 - Sep 3, 2012 at 12:08 PM

        I’ve read otherwise, but I won’t belabor that as often what gets printed is second hand at best and thus what I’ve read could be hogwash. However, if they have talked, then it is even clearer that Strasburg is not on board with the idea yet.

        My biggest point is that the Nats of course want a healthy Strasburg going forward, but they also need a Strasburg is happy to be a Nat and does not feel he is being rooked out of a opportunity of a lifetime, an opportunity that he earned. Again, a player’s psyche is just as important as his arm. It is why I would not completely shut him down for the season in the second week of September if still healthy.

  18. nobody78 - Sep 3, 2012 at 11:56 AM

    Boswell wrote, and I quote:

    “The Nats are better with Strasburg, his 15-6 record and 2.94 ERA. But they aren’t enormously better. In his last 13 starts, the Nats are 7-6 and his ERA in that span (3.80) is only fourth out of five in the rotation.”

    I think you’re misreading his tone. This isn’t an attack on critics of the decision. It’s a rallying cry for fans who’re worried about their team’s chances without the young ace. I don’t always love Boswell, but I really liked this piece.

  19. kinggw - Sep 3, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    Craig, no one is arguing that the Nats are better without Strasburg. However, it is idiotic for people like you, Schilling, and every other armchair GM on TV rehashing this subject after each Strasburg start like Rizzo doesn’t know what he’s doing. The decision has been made, move on. Please.

    • Gardenhire's Cat - Sep 3, 2012 at 2:26 PM

      This.

  20. lieutennantoblivious - Sep 3, 2012 at 2:36 PM

    Maybe I’m just naive, but isn’t the whole point of the exercise to win a championship? Maybe I’m forgetting the long and proud postseason tradition of the Washington Nationals, but you just don’t get a chance at the postseason every year, no matter how long your career is. Ask Ernie Banks or Ted Williams or Carl Yastrzemski how many shots you get at this thing. Or Ferguson Jenkins, Phil Niekro, or Gaylord Perry if you want some pitchers. If you’re not saving him for a shot at a championship when it presents itself, what the hell ARE you saving him for?

  21. tuftsb - Sep 3, 2012 at 3:18 PM

    Why doesn’t Craig interview the surgeon that performed the operation as opposed to listening to laymen describe the risks and reward? Would you rely on a layman to give legal advice or someone that had passed the bar?

    • raysfan1 - Sep 3, 2012 at 5:04 PM

      Generally speaking, physicians continue to see the injured patient only until the patient is ready for full release, at which point said patient is free to perform any activities he wishes as much as he wishes.

      From my own literature search, the longest follow up period I found was a study where the average patient was followed for just under 7 years. 85% of the athletes were still doing well. Most of the studies were cut off around 4 years, with 90+% still competing I their chosen sport. No scientific study I saw dealt with innings/ workload.

      This ultimately is based on best guess + the team’s and player’s investment.

  22. jfian24 - Sep 3, 2012 at 4:54 PM

    Craig: I’m astounded to find you on the macho, knuckle-dragging side of this debate. I’ve been reading your stuff since Shysterball and I thought you had more sense.

    If the Nats chose to continue pitching Strasburg, they would have to ignore all medical advice and disregard the clear history of young pitchers experiencing steep climbs in innings pitched. You know Strasburg only pitched 44 innings last year, right? Add in the TJ surgery and it’s inviting disaster to allow him to continue to pitch.

    Yes, there are no guarantees. They could shut him down today and he could come up lame in Spring training. Hell, maybe he’ll get run over by a bus tomorrow. But the best you can do is make the most informed judgment and stick with it. That is what the Nationals are doing.

    Strasburg has the potential to be one of the all-time greats. Are you really going to risk not just the Nationals season, but this young man’s entire career, for one shot at the post season? Really?

  23. Walk - Sep 3, 2012 at 5:17 PM

    I am not a nats fan even though i like to watch them play right now. While i would like to see stras pitch this whole situation was put in context for me earlier this year. I cannot remember the specific posters but the basics were that tommy john surgery is a two year recovery process with the first the player finishing his recovery on the playing field. To me that meant that even though he is pitching stras is still recovering while he builds his arm back up for a heavy future workload. Even though he is pitching i consider him injured and i am getting the privelige of watching him work out as he prepares for a full recovery.

  24. vikesfansteve - Sep 3, 2012 at 6:26 PM

    They sitting him based on a what if scenario. As in what if they never make the playoffs again his whole career. Wouldn’t that just be a slap in the face!? This is just a dumb idea. Hopefully they are just saving him for the post season.

    What is the whole point of baseball to win the World Series right?

    Play him until his arm falls off & if he hurts it again just fix it again.

    Rizzo disgusts me as much as the fact I agree with Calcaterra this is a terrible decision disgusts me.

    • jfian24 - Sep 3, 2012 at 6:58 PM

      “Play him until his arm falls off & if he hurts it again just fix it again.”

      OK. No problem. Another genius heard from. I haven’t seen so many stupid people since I watched the Republican convention.

      Go back to football, “Steve”.

      • vikesfansteve - Sep 3, 2012 at 8:33 PM

        As long as you go back to sucking on your boyfriends some more because the goo is rotting your brain.

      • vikesfansteve - Sep 3, 2012 at 8:39 PM

        Dave Dravecky pitched with cancer and lost his arm. He didn’t puss out, he went for it.

  25. vikesfansteve - Sep 3, 2012 at 8:57 PM

    http://content.usatoday.com/communities/dailypitch/post/2012/08/tommy-john-blasts-stephen-strasburg-shutdown-plan/

    Tommy John thinks the shutdown plan is complete B.S. also. It’s been 2 years since Strasburg had surgery. The guy is fine. This plan is stupid!

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