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Deep Thoughts: Stephen Strasburg shutdown edition

Sep 7, 2012, 12:33 PM EDT

Stephen Strasburg AP

Mark Zuckerman of has a column up about the impending end of Stephen Strasburg‘s season:

Having been informed by team management last week he will be shut down following next Wednesday’s start in New York, Strasburg finally has a clear view of the finish line on what will be remembered both as an equally remarkable and frustrating season for the young right-hander …

… “He’s all-in,” manager Davey Johnson said. “Every time he goes out, he’s committed to be the best he can be. He probably puts that standard higher than I like it. So I don’t see him ramping down to the last one of two, going at it any harder or any softer.”

Hope Johnson is right about the harder part. Because I get these visions of Strasburg, knowing that he has no reason to conserve energy because his season is over, rearing back for some extra mustard and blowing his arm out or something.  Obviously that would be horrible and no one on the planet wants that to happen, but the irony, hoo-boy, that would be thick as hell. Sorry, my mind tends to wander into dark places sometimes.

That aside, I’m pro shutdown if the only alternative is this hooey from Jack McCaffery of the Times Herald:

So how can Selig nap while the Washington Nationals are announcing that they will disengage All-Star right-hander Stephen Strasburg under some cockeyed formula they believe will keep him stronger for some other season, not this one? … Selig, though, should demand that it not reach that point. For the good of the game, every team should be made to try its best to win every time it plays. Every. Time.

Yes, Bud should FORCE teams to make this or that personnel decision. That makes total sense.

(Thanks to Steve Silver for alerting me to McCaffery’s nonsense)

  1. Gardenhire's Cat - Sep 7, 2012 at 12:41 PM

    Just give it a rest Calceterra

    • braddavery - Sep 7, 2012 at 2:51 PM

      Give it a rest? This is a huge story. The team with the best record in baseball is going to shut down their best pitcher, RIGHT BEFORE THE PLAYOFFS START. They should have limited his innings earlier in the season, not cut him off at the end. I would be pissed if I was a Nationals fan, and even more so if they get knocked out of the playoffs in a tight series, in which Strasburg could have been the difference.

      • Gardenhire's Cat - Sep 7, 2012 at 3:32 PM

        I am upset that Strasburg won’t be pitching in October; however, the decision has been made and there has never been a sign that management will change their minds.

  2. kevinleaptrot - Sep 7, 2012 at 12:41 PM

    McCaffery needs a nap.

  3. willclarkgameface - Sep 7, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    Well, Bud really should have more tasks, but I think he’s having a hard time with the ones that were given to him in 1974.

    Dude is so slow to get to just about everything in his life. By the time he decides about Strasburg, the Nationals will have been eliminated from the playoffs 3 times in 12 years, busy kicking the dirt that they didn’t try just a little bit harder to win in 2012.

    • natslady - Sep 7, 2012 at 12:53 PM

      According to the Cubs, the Nats are trying TOO hard…

  4. natslady - Sep 7, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    Unbelievable. So–if you are not contending, don’t make any deadline trades… don’t play any prospects towards the end of the season… play guys with oblique strains until the strain becomes a tear… down 12-2 when it’s 95 degrees don’t rest any of your regulars… Wow, the implications of this mindset…And when the sun is shining, why repair the roof?

  5. heyblueyoustink - Sep 7, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    If Bud was going to interfere with the Nats, i’d figure he’d intervene in the defense of Teddy Roosevelt

    • natstowngreg - Sep 7, 2012 at 6:02 PM

      Now THAT would be something useful. The whole Teddy = Charlie Brown thing has gotten really old.

  6. brazcubas - Sep 7, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    Really, Jack McCaffery? Did you write a similar column last year when they did the same with their best pitcher (J. Zimmermann), or was it not as urgent then as the team was merely flirting with .500 and J-Zim isn’t as high profile as Strasburg?

    Also, shouldn’t you have written this column during spring training when Mike Rizzo made it clear that Strasburg was going to have his innings limited this season? Or, did you think it wiser to wait and see how the Nationals did this season? After all, if they merely had an outside chance at a Wild Card at this point, the Strasburg shutdown wouldn’t be as controversial, and pulling out the “best interest of the game” card wouldn’t get you as many readers would it now?

    • natstowngreg - Sep 7, 2012 at 6:11 PM

      Rizzo talked about limiting Strasburg’s innings last August, when Strasburg returned from the TJS.

      You’ve hit on 2 keys to why this is such a contentious issue. First, the Nats, unexpectedly, have become one of MLB’s top 5 teams. Second, this is about the most hyped pitching prospect in a generation.

  7. Chris Fiorentino - Sep 7, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    I’ll never understand why they didn’t do what Orel Hersheiser said. On August 15th, the Nationals were 10 games in the playoffs. Why not shut the guy down at that time, and save him for the playoffs? He had pitched 135 innings. So he had between 25 and 45 innings left.

    Like Orel said…what if he turned his ankle covering first? Or tweaked a hammy? Would they have shut him down for the season? Of course not. He would have gone on the DL and pitched when whatever got hurt healed. Even if he DIDN’T hurt his leg…tell everyone he did and keep him for the playoffs that way.

    Instead, he is 3-1 with a 3.13 era his last 4 starts, and that includes a start where he got rocked. This was just poorly handled by the Nationals from the beginning.

    • nolanwiffle - Sep 7, 2012 at 2:38 PM

      ….says the man who doesn’t even like baseball unless the game involves the Phillies. Thanks for your .02

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 7, 2012 at 7:12 PM

      Problem with that is you can’t just shut him down for a month/6 weeks and then have him come out late sept throwing 100+ pitches again. You’d need to ramp him back up to game shape, which prevents the “rest” and ends up wasting time as well.

      There’s no easy way to do this unfortunately.

  8. lazlosother - Sep 7, 2012 at 1:54 PM

    The Nats will make the post season easily, and I think we’ll see Strasberg. Just see if they keep him stretched out.

    • lazlosother - Sep 7, 2012 at 3:13 PM

      Strasburg, dammit.

  9. kkolchak - Sep 7, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    Yet another attention whore trolling for readers. Who gives a damn what he thinks. Rizzo and his staff are the ones getting paid to be right about this decision and the Nats’ owners are the ones with millions of dollars hanging in the balance on how it all plays out. Somehow, I trust their judgement a little more than some blowhard with a newspaper column, especially since they seem to be motivated at least in part by something OTHER than winning at all costs.

  10. ravensoriolesnation - Sep 7, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    again Nats lose in the 1st round of playoffs see ya

    • sophiethegreatdane - Sep 7, 2012 at 3:24 PM

      As an O’s fan, I see no reason to be kicking Nats fans. I wish them the best, except when playing the birds.

      • natstowngreg - Sep 7, 2012 at 6:14 PM

        Thank you, same to the O’s. Unfortunately, as long as there are blogs and message boards and related means of electronic communication, there will be fools who get their jollies by posting anonymous trash.

  11. natstowngreg - Sep 7, 2012 at 6:22 PM

    Let’s see. Bud is supposed to require a team to use a specific player in a specific manner.

    Bud is supposed to change the rules to place a morals clause on statistics (see Cabrera, Melky).

    Bud gets ripped for what MLB does, or does not, do. Some of it is deserved, IMHO. But the thought occurs that some of the ripping of Bud is from people who come up with lame ideas, and hate on Bud because MLB has the good sense not to adopt them. [BTW, I don’t consider instant replay a lame idea. Making the All-Star Game determine World Series home field, exceedingly lame.]

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