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Stephen Strasburg is upset about being shut down

Sep 8, 2012, 10:02 PM EDT

stephen strasburg getty Getty Images

Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post provides the quote:

“I don’t know if I’m ever going to accept it, to be honest,” Strasburg said Saturday. “It’s something that I’m not happy about at all. That’s not why I play the game. I play the game to be a good teammate and win. You don’t grow up dreaming out playing in the big leagues to get shut down when the games start to matter. It’s going to be a tough one to swallow.”

Strasburg admitted he was hoping the Nats would adjust their plan as the summer went on, especially as the team’s overall record improved. But general manager Mike Rizzo did not budge.

“I was always thinking things were going to change,” concluded the 24-year-old right-hander in his chat with reporters on Saturday afternoon. “But this is a decision they made well before the start of the year. I play for the Washington Nationals. I play to help this team win games. I’m not the one making the calls.”

It’s the kind of attitude you’d expect from an ace. And he should be a force to reckon with in 2013.

  1. Kevin Gillman - Sep 8, 2012 at 10:07 PM

    Stephen might be an ace, but will the Nationals be in contention again next season? For Mike Rizzo’s case, I hope they are, but there is never, ever a guarantee, and Strasburg could get hurt falling out of the shower, and be out the entire 2013 season. You just never know.

    • verytalldad - Sep 8, 2012 at 10:21 PM

      Seriously?! Have you even looked at the roster or the ages of the players. This isnt a team of rejuvenated veterans. This is a young team meeting their potential early. This is the fun year. They were built to contend NEXT year and beyond.

      If I was the league (or NL East for that matter) I would be worried about the Nats for a long time to come. Phillies- aging. Miami- a mess as always. Mets – bigger mess. Braves are the only ones in the next few years for the Nats to deal with in the divison.

      Comments like these are just generalizations and guesses, not at all based on what their roster looks like for next year. Anything can hapen, but this is a team built for a strong next 3-4 years. If anything, the next few years they could have too many players coming up from the minors.

      As a Nats fan, I am excited and its just getting started.

      • keithbangedyermom - Sep 8, 2012 at 10:28 PM

        That’s exactly what the the 1990 Pirates thought too.

      • keithbangedyermom - Sep 8, 2012 at 10:29 PM

        Wheeler-Harvey-Niese-Gee-Dickey is far from a “mess”. Stay overconfident.

      • Kevin Gillman - Sep 8, 2012 at 10:36 PM

        As an Indians fan, I admire the Nationals and what they have done this season. I usually root for the underdog, because every year, the Indians are underdogs, win or lose. But even when I experienced the 90’s run when the Indians had that great run with the young talent, it was more and more difficult every season to repeat. This is what your Nationals are going to be going through even next season. Teams now have books on those young players, and the young players will need to make those adjustments. Besides, even in today’s baseball, there are no more dynasties with teams getting better every season, and challenging the ones that made the postseason the year before. Trust me, there is never, ever a guarantee that you will see multi-years of postseason, I don’t care if you’re the youngest team in baseball, there are always adjustments. We won’t know if this is their peak, until next season, and beyond. So yes, this is a guess, but your statement is a guess too, because none of us know the future.

        So having said that, if this was the plan all along, and it seemed it was, then why didn’t the Nationals make plans to protect Strasburg? Why not give him an extra day of rest, or two, just so he can keep pitching for the Nats all season long? I hope I am wrong, but baseball history says I am not. We will see. Good luck though, I have another October NOT watching my Indians in the postseason, so cherish this season.

      • thefalcon123 - Sep 8, 2012 at 11:22 PM

        Holy nutballs verytalldad! That ain’t how the game of baseball works. Unless you’re spending $200 million a year, you have nothing more than an okay idea if you will be competing the next year or not. A roster full of young players means a lot of them might turn out to be huge dissapointments, injury riddled or just plain underperformers.

        The Nationals are in a good position next year, but there are no guarantees. Their division will not get easier, there will be injuries, and if they fall apart it will be nothing more than what happens in baseball *all the time*

        I bet these teams thought they’d be in contention the next year too:

        2002 World Champion Angels…failed to make the postseason in 2003
        2003 World Champion Marlins…failed to make the postseason in 2004
        2004 World Champion Red Sox…failed to make the postseason in 2005
        2005 World Champion White Sox…failed to make the postseason in 2006
        2006 World Champion Cardinals…failed to make the postseason in 2007

      • themuddychicken - Sep 8, 2012 at 11:42 PM

        Just to go ahead and pick some nits, the Red Sox did qualify for the postseason in 2005. They just did not actually show up against the White Sox during the ALDS.

      • bigleagues - Sep 8, 2012 at 11:43 PM

        Hey verytalldad:

        The 2008 Cleveland Indians are calling from some place called Harsh Reality. They’d like to have a word with you about how promising the future can look when you are in the present and riding high with mounds of young talent.

        Now please hold for Grady Sizemore who has volunteered to share just how fleeting would-be glory is.

      • hittfamily - Sep 9, 2012 at 12:05 AM

        Everyone here seems to be disagreeing with you. They are buffoons. You are right. What if Andrew Friedman traded away young guys in 2008 to meet the fans expectations, that they should try to win now, because they will not be back.

        5 years later, I’m glad the GM stuck to the plan, and held on to the young talent, knowing that putting all your eggs in 1 basket is foolish.

        Stick to the plan Rizzo. His doctors know his workload, and you know his contact length.

      • bigleagues - Sep 9, 2012 at 1:09 AM


        I like Mike Rizzo. But as much as it pains me to admit this, Andrew Friedman is kind of a lot smarter. Maybe than any of his peers.

        The Ray’s success is because of Friedman’s plan, while Rizzo’s success is a little more akin to Theo Epstein’s circa 2004.

      • dannythebisforbeast - Sep 9, 2012 at 7:30 PM

        win one playoff game before your starting talking about how great the Nats are gonna be

  2. prosourcetalk - Sep 8, 2012 at 10:09 PM

    I really hope they change their minds & let him pitch in the postseason.

    • verytalldad - Sep 8, 2012 at 10:24 PM

      bc shutting down an arm and starting it back up in 4 weeks is a great move for his health!! C’mon!!

  3. thatyankeedude - Sep 8, 2012 at 10:21 PM

    He is 100% correct! No kid ever sits their and says gee I hope I can pitch my team into first place someday and watch my team play the rest of the games without me! C’mon he is a grown man and if he feels fine let him play, he can make big boy decisions.

    • verytalldad - Sep 8, 2012 at 10:27 PM

      Yeh- they pay him tens of millions so he can do what HE wants! Thats what smart organization do. Maybe they will rely on their other 4 aces (they would be on a lot of teams) and their potent offense to get them to the series.

      How many rings does Pryor have for his great 1 postseason.

      • Kevin Gillman - Sep 8, 2012 at 10:40 PM

        How many times have the Nationals ever been to the postseason? One, and there is never a guarantee there will be 2.

      • bigleagues - Sep 8, 2012 at 11:46 PM

        Where did you come from?


        Gordon? Is that you?

  4. stoutfiles - Sep 8, 2012 at 10:26 PM

    He should be! But all the Nats fans are convinced that

    A) If he pitches just 1 inning over his arbitrary innings limit, he’s guaranteed to get hurt.

    B) The team is setup to win in the future, as if teams that look good on paper are guaranteed to win championships.

    If you have to chance to win the World Series, you do it and you don’t look back. Strasburg could get hurt, but then again, he could get hurt next year regardless.

    • verytalldad - Sep 8, 2012 at 10:31 PM

      Then again his tendons could explode the next pitch he throws. “Anything can happen anyway” everyone keeps saying.

      Give me a break. Strasburg isnt gonna say “sweet they shut me down!”. He has to fight it.

      I thougt baseball moved past the scouting days of old guys having a feeling about a guy and focused more on stats and trends. Well the stats and trends tell the Nats to shut him down.

      • CJ - Sep 8, 2012 at 11:10 PM

        actually, if you look it up, they don’t. but don’t let facts get in the way of posting 47 times on the same article.

  5. keithbangedyermom - Sep 8, 2012 at 10:26 PM

    This pisses me off even more. What the Nationals are doing is setting a precedent that could change baseball. Take out one of your top players heading into the postseason because of phantom injury concerns. They’ve officially compromised the integrity of the NL playoffs by fielding a team that is not as strong as it should be. Ridiculous. Mike Rizzo should be hung out to dry for this. What an idiot.

    • verytalldad - Sep 8, 2012 at 10:33 PM

      Precedent? C’mon. Your grandstanding. Take away Strasburg this year and we are still in the lead in the divison.

      I think most teams would LOVE the predicament the Nats are in. Loaded young team with 5 potential aces, best record in baseball and they have to shut down ONE guy. The Mets and Astros must hate the predicament the Nats are in.

      • keithbangedyermom - Sep 8, 2012 at 10:41 PM

        At my draft in March, my leaguemates laughed when I said Washington was going to win the division. You guys have a really good team now – you have to go for it and do it with your best team.

        You don’t have 5 aces, bud. C’mon. And the Mets will be back – rest assured. All the more reason to go for it now. You guys seem to think you have guaranteed playoff berths locked up. Baseball doesn’t work that way.

      • Old Gator - Sep 8, 2012 at 10:42 PM

        “Phantom injury concerns”? Right. Ask him to roll up his sleeve and show you his elbow. Betcha it’s uglier than yours, even if your alleged mind, not to mention your juvenile handle, is uglier than his.

      • keithbangedyermom - Sep 8, 2012 at 10:44 PM

        It gives me pleasure knowing I get under your skin, Gator.

      • verytalldad - Sep 8, 2012 at 10:48 PM

        Its give me pleasure you think the Mets will be back.

        That gives me pleasure in knowing you have no clue what you talking about.

        I am glad you and your “leaguemates” had a good laugh on the Nats.

        Jordan Zimmerman- could be our ace and would definitly would be one more than a dozen teams
        Gio- Ace
        Edwin Jackson- whens hes one he pitches like one
        Detwiler- young with potential.

        Keep having a good laugh with your “leaguemates”- what the F is a leaguemate?

      • keithbangedyermom - Sep 8, 2012 at 10:59 PM

        Edwin Jackson pitches like an ace? When?

        In case you didn’t understand me, I was predicting the Nats would win the division. They assumed Philly. That’s why the laughed. It was fantasy baseball, in case you’ve not heard of that before.

        And Yes, believe it or not, the Mets will be back in contention eventually. But don’t fear – they won’t threaten your team’s ten consecutive World title run.

      • Old Gator - Sep 8, 2012 at 11:01 PM

        Don’t keep patting yourself on the back, lowlife. It causes cancer. But if it helps any, you should know that it”s not “you” getting under my skin. It’s your stupidity and classlessness, both of which are archetypal to a fault and are so completely unoriginal that “you” as an illusory individual entity don’t matter. “You” are completely interchangeable with countless other idiot clones. If you got hit by a lump of blue ice on your way to the Seven-Eleven to buy some Ripple tonight, another moron indistinguishable from “you” with a comparably swinish handle would pop up here tomorrow.

      • keithbangedyermom - Sep 8, 2012 at 11:10 PM

        You’re the one that started it Gator. I didn’t call you classless.

      • bigleagues - Sep 9, 2012 at 12:46 AM

        scaryfallfad (verytalldad)

        Take away Strasburg this year and we are still in the lead in the divison.

        First of all, you remove Strasburg and replace him with WHOM?!

        Secondly, when you make an outrageous claim . . . it’s fairly standard procedure around here to back it up with some sort of logic. In this case, you gotto at least offer us the math at how you arrive at such a creative (read:absurd) conclusion.


        Nationals are 19-9 in 28 Strasburg starts this year.

        Replace Strasburg with a full year of John Lannan based on a 3-year average of Lannan’s numbers we could have expected the Nationals to go roughly 14-14 in 28 Lannan starts.

        That’s a 5-game swing – without even making any reasonable assumptions with regard to the added burden that Lannan would have placed on the bullpen throughout the year, nor any assumptions about the effect that Lannan vs Strasburg would have had on other Starters.

        With that 5-Game swing, the Nationals would be 81-58, which would place you just 1.5 Games ahead of the Braves at this point. And there is no guarantee with Lannan sans Strasburg, that you would actually have that 1.5 Game lead.

      • unlost1 - Sep 10, 2012 at 8:45 AM

        right, so you wouldn’t care if he didn’t play the entire year

  6. RickyB - Sep 8, 2012 at 10:42 PM

    Serious question here: why do teams limit a pitcher by the number of pitches thrown every game, then decide to limit him by an innings count for the season? Wouldn’t it make more sense to limit him by total pitches thrown for the season? Consistency would be nice …

  7. drunkenhooliganism - Sep 8, 2012 at 10:46 PM

    I know it’s hard as hell to get my kids to sleep after they drink something sugary. Based on the formula I created to decide how long before bedtime I need to cut my kids off from juice or soda and how much they can drink at that time, I think verytalldad should sleep soundly at some point in 2041 after drinking all that Nationals’ Kool-Aid.

    • CJ - Sep 8, 2012 at 11:20 PM

      I’ll take the over :)

  8. chicagofan4ever - Sep 8, 2012 at 10:48 PM

    Rizzo’s biggest problems was going public with this so soon. This was an internal matter, which should have stayed that way. This decision could come back to bite him when it is time for Stras burg to reup.

    • bigleagues - Sep 9, 2012 at 12:58 AM

      I don’t agree with the move at all, but just pause to consider the colossal PR firestorm bombshell (and massive distraction away from the team) that would have been caused by the team announcing that decision today – if had not been previously announced anywhere publicly.

      Rizzo’s biggest problem(s) remain the white elephants in the room:

      – Strasburg is pissed.
      – The Nationals have to get deep into the playoffs this year AND remain playoff contenders with Strasburg making significant contributions, for the next several years.

  9. onbucky96 - Sep 9, 2012 at 12:45 AM

    On behalf of the Red Sox and Evil Empire, thank you for shutting Steven down. We are looking forward to Scott Borras making us squeel like a pig once Steven is eligible for Free Agency. Come on Pigge. ..

  10. edge661 - Sep 9, 2012 at 1:18 AM

    This is bs

  11. hittfamily - Sep 9, 2012 at 1:32 AM

    Anyone who keeps saying “there are no guarantees for next year”, and “they need to do whatever they have to do to win it all”, please explain why Dellan Betances is still in AAA for the Yankees, while Andruw Jones and Raul Ibanez is the DH. No guarantees, right? Shouldn’t they be going all out for this 1 world series?

    Why is Jurickson Profar coming off the bench? No guarantees, and all out right? I’m sure someone could have sured up that bullpen in exchange for Profar. Or does “all-in”, “no guarantees for next year, so mortgage your future to do as much as possible for this year’s series” only count towards the Nationals?

    The Nationals need to win this year, at all costs,right? Harper only has an .814 OPS, and a 3.4 fWAR. Why not trade Harper for Josh Willingham, who has an OPS over .900, and a 3.8 fWAR? This year, right? Forget 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, they need to win now. Forget the future, and get it done Rizzo!

  12. adeedothatswho - Sep 9, 2012 at 4:10 AM

    Look at this from the team’s perspective. Winning a World Series is obviously amazing, and they’d love nothing more. Financially, it would benefit them greatly….for a year or two. But imagine what happened if he actually ended up like Mark Prior….think about how much money the Cubs lost in ticket sales and merchandise and games won because they didn’t have the phenom pitching every fifth day. In the long run, financially, they have to protect their investment. As much as teams say they operate for the fans and to win championships, it’s not true. They operate for profit. They have to make money. The risk is too great for them. Strasburg could make them hundreds of millions of dollars in the long run. If you believe the Nationals first priority is winning, you are fooling yourself. First, you make money. Then, you try to win. Every other team in the game is the same.

  13. cdheller76 - Sep 9, 2012 at 8:53 AM

    The Phillies thought they would be contenders for years, winning multiple championships. They won in 2008, which wasn’t their best team. The Nationals may only have one shot, so you go for it when that opportunity presents itself. Shutting down Strasburg for the promise of a future may ruin the only chance they get.

  14. verytalldad - Sep 9, 2012 at 9:27 AM

    rob dibble sure has a lot of screennames here. so many nats haters.

    its fun at the top.

    • bigleagues - Sep 9, 2012 at 4:12 PM

      Generally speaking, HBT’ers love the upstarts and the underdogs.

      We like seeing a franchise like that of the Expos/Nationals make a charge to the top of the standings (even if its just once every generation or so).

      What we seem to collectively hate more so than the Yankees, Red Sox, Bud Selig, ESPN or public funding for stadiums . . . are FANBOYS.

      Now, I’m not saying that FANBOYS can’t eventually be rehabilitated and adhere to the higher, more academically rigorous discussions we have here on #HBT (although most of us, at one time or another, have had our moments of subversion and tomfoolery), but its gotto start with you realizing the problem. Help us, help you.

      Read some of natsowngreg’s and natslady’s comments and see how they take a thoughtful, circumspect approach to what they write. They express their excitement and take issue with other HBT’ers opinions, without crossing into unmoderated cheerleading (that’s what Facebook is for).

      Now you can start by stating which team you left the Nationals for and why.

      (wacky sidebar: the nickname and the content of verytalldad’s comments remind me of someone from Minnesota who has lived in DC the past 15 years. Could it be? I can only hope, but I’ll probably be disappoined.)

  15. jrbdmb - Sep 9, 2012 at 9:54 AM

    The Phillies and Red Sox thought they would be “at the top” this year too. Dan Marino thought he’d get another crack at the Super Bowl. But S*** happens.

    No guarantees about next year – IMHO you have to go for the ring when it’s within your grasp.

  16. mjb0680 - Sep 9, 2012 at 9:56 AM

    None of this would be an issues if they just started pitching him in may . . .

    • nekotman - Sep 9, 2012 at 2:26 PM

      Now this man wins the prize! Seems this would have been a good idea. If their pitchers are so good, they would have kept them rolling along till he joined the rotation in May. I’m a Braves fan but wish they had kept the kid going. He worked his butt off all season to be denied his dream. If they win it all this season what’s to stop them from doing it again next year.

  17. dannythebisforbeast - Sep 9, 2012 at 11:38 AM

    5 aces, loaded with young talent, smart move. NATS fans you do realize you have NEVER seen a playoff game let alone won one but your thinking down the road about all the future world series games you will need Strasburg for. When you got knocked out in the first round, you can say wait til next year. Next year might never come. What’s the trend saying he should be shut down? Because at 175 innings his arm will fall off or over 200 innings then next year his arm will be rubber. Rizzo is wrong and the only reason you have all this young talent is because the NATS managed to suck so bad for so long.

  18. kevinleaptrot - Sep 9, 2012 at 11:45 AM

    OH. MY. GOD. I’m a Nats fan and I woke up this morning (I live in the Washington, DC area) and THE SUN WAS SHINING! BIRDS WERE CHIRPING! THE WORLD HAD NOT COME TO AN END! It’s a miracle I tell you, a miracle from God. I just new when I saw that the Nats shut down Stras yesterday that the 7th sign of the Apocalypse had been spotted and Armageddon was inevitable. But NO!!!! Life will continue on. And even better, the Nationals are STILL IN FIRST PLACE WITH THE BEST RECORD IN BASEBALL. This is our year and the Stras decision is just an unfortunate bump in what had been a very smooth road all season. The team will get past this. We’ve still got the best pitching in the NL without Stras. I’m just hoping to get a good spot for the World Series Parade.

    • dannythebisforbeast - Sep 9, 2012 at 7:35 PM

      wanna make a wager?? I take paypal

  19. bigleagues - Sep 9, 2012 at 8:23 PM

    I liken Boras’ comments in his ESPN feature on what role he may or may not have had in The Shutdown to the kind of thing you hear from President Putin.

  20. mrredlegz - Sep 9, 2012 at 10:41 PM

    I can’t wait until the Stephen Strasburg articles are shut down for the rest of the season. Seriously? Is it really necessary to post a story about this 3 times a day? I mean, yeah, it was somewhat interesting at first, but…..

    • Chris Fiorentino - Sep 9, 2012 at 11:17 PM

      Yeah how DARE HBT post a story about Strasburg’s first comments since he was shut down.

  21. lostsok - Sep 10, 2012 at 7:49 AM

    People seem to forget that not only is Strasberg young, he’s still coming back from a serious arm injury. This is the best plan for Strasberg…it’s the ONLY plan.

    Props to Washington for not ruining this kid trying to win now, when he could be a two-decade ace.

    • bigleagues - Sep 10, 2012 at 9:50 AM

      NO ONE has forgotten that Strasburg is “coming back” from major reconstructive surgery. It’s been 2 years since he had the surgery. It was 18 months since the surgery when this season began. One FACT that has been absent from the story . . . the new tendon of TJS recipients is generally stronger post-surgery than prior to it.

      NO DOCTOR is ever gonna err on the side of aggressiveness, especially when commenting publicly.

      NO EVIDENCE to support the claim that Strasburg is at any higher risk of injury than any other pitcher at this point.

      PLENTY of evidence to suggest that the Nationals are making a HUGE gamble by not allowing Strasburg to pitch.

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