Thursday, August 16, 2012
Strasburg, Right Ahead.
This is something we have seen coming since Spring Training and when the beginning of the season started. The innings limit for ace Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg after having had Tommy John surgery and wanting to prolong the career of their phenom pitcher. The date is looming and the decision of his organization to limit his total innings to between 160-180 is coming close.
I applaud the Nationals for their ability to stay steadfast and stick with a decision regardless of what their fans or the media feels. It makes it especially hard for fans to understand since the Nationals are sitting atop their division in first place and have the MLB's best overall record.
Mr. Strasburg currently sits at 139.1 innings pitched and has a record of 14-5 with a 2.91 E.R.A. He has gone 6 innings per start the last three outings and at this pace he will hit 160 innings after his next three and a half starts.
He is the most dominate pitcher in their rotation and can single handily win a playoff series by shutting down the opposing teams hitters. The one though getting shut down is Stephen.
The organizations leaders have the best interest of their team in mind and the best interest of their player in mind also. They are making sure the investment made in Strasburg will be a long term payoff rather than a short term flame out. The philosophy of their decision is understandable.
They want to have a competitive team for the foreseeable future. They want to be relevant in the next 10 years and want Stephen Strasburg to be a key piece of this puzzle. They are looking at the tip of the iceberg and wondering what is possibly left they don't see. This is where the debate begins with everyone involved.
Trying to "see" what is not visible makes this decision the most difficult.
They want to be careful and not over stress his arm and cause him to breakdown and ruin him for the future. They realize the team will definitely miss him and will put the team in a position where the playoffs would be much more difficult to succeed in.
The stress on Strasburg's arm is the biggest concern for the Nats.
The issue is whether you want to win now or win later. This game has no guarantees. One day you feel like you are "King of the World" and then next you can't hit a curve ball or find the plate.
I feel as a baseball fan you want to see the best players in the playoffs and if I was a fan of the Nationals I want to win the World Series no matter what the cost.
The Nationals can still make the playoffs and still have a chance to win the World Series even if Stephen Strasburg is there or not. They obviously have a quality team with their position players and the remainder of their rotation. You don't have the best record in baseball without having a great balanced team.
They will need big contributions from their other starting pitchers like Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmerman, Edwin Jackson, and Ross Detwiler. With the absence of Strasburg it will be imperative they get quality starts from this group of guys as the manager will have to decide who they put in Strasburg's spot in the rotation to finish out the season.
The Nationals, with planning to shut Strasburg down, can take all the precautions necessary to try and ensure he have a long career and he could still get injured. This would be devastating to the organization and their fan base as then you didn't get anything positive out of him. You didn't go for it when you had the chance and then still ended up with him hurt.
The point is you just don't know what the future holds.
I am a firm believer in playing and winning for today, if you have the chance, and deal with the future when it comes.
I am a huge Cubs fan and they haven't really won anything in over 100 years. The Cubs thought they had the next great pitcher in Mark Prior and they went for it in 2003 and it didn't work out. At least there was a chance and it was close. Now no one has seen him in the majors in years after an injury. It happened after the run in '03 but no one knew that is what the future held for him.
Mark Prior saw something out there but it wasn't his future.
Strasburg has already been injured in his career and had surgery. He has come back with a vengeance. I feel they should step back and rethink their position and go for the gold. I respect their position, and obviously I am not paying his salary either, but I am a fan of a team too and wouldn't want to jeopardize a World Series chance for the "what if" of the future.
People can see the tip of the iceberg but it is what's not seen that causes all the damage.
It just depends where the damage is potentially done.
It could be Stephen Strasburg damaging opposing hitters in this years playoffs.
It could be the organization damaging their chances of winning this years World Series.
Posted by WGCY Newsroom at 7:44 PM