Baseball: The Nationals Need Stephen Strasburg

by Suzie Raven

The right-handed pitcher from San Diego State was an obvious choice for the Washington Nationals number one draft pick, as the team’s struggling pitching staff has dragged their relatively strong offense into the worst record in baseball. Since Strasburg is arguably the best pitching prospect in draft history, he can offer the team a rare shred of hope every fifth day.

The famously ruthless agent Scott Boras argues that Strasburg’s 102 mile per hour fastball and strong curve are worth every penny of the six-year $50 million contract he will try to get for Strasburg before the August 17th deadline. In 119 innings with San Diego, Strasburg had a 13-1 record, with a 1.22 ERA and 195 strikeouts.

Amazing statistics like those are worth the amazing contract that Boras seeks, but the Nationals are in no hurry to sign a record-setting contract.

"There's no one player or situation that changes the whole industry," Nationals President Stan Kasten said. “We do expect to draft the player we think is the best. We expect to sign him. We're going to be aggressive, but we'll be appropriate."

Kasten may be right that no one player should be expected to change the fate of the whole organization. They exercised this logic by failing to sign last year’s number one draft pick, Missouri pitcher Aaron Crow. Time will tell if that was a good decision or not, as Crow signed with the Kansas City Royals last week.

Strasburg’s talent has more potential to help the Nationals in the immediate future than anything else. The faster they sign him, the faster he can enter their rotation and start winning games for them. If they wait until August 17th, they will they have wasted two months of starts. They also would’ve foolishly allowed him to waste time that he could’ve spent working out with a major league team.

It’s time for the Nationals to make a solid investment in their own future. Strasburg is ready and more than able to become the ace for an organization that desperately needs pitching.

(To see a background piece about Strasburg from ESPN, please check below.)

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Louise said...

I'm a huge Nationals fan. They’ve always been my favourite teams in MLB, but they should be always competitive enough to keep pace with the others. Just read about them here:

PJ Kehres said...

I agree the Nats need Strasburg, but I decry the broken system that makes it necessary for small-market teams like the Nats to break the bank and mortgage every other part of their future for one draft pick.

Suzie said...

Ideally, the Nats would develop their farm system to the point where players of that level would come up through AAA ... like the Phillies. Guys like Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins have played their entire careers in Philadelphia, including their minor league years. It gives the Phillies a lot of leverage to be less concerned about signing guys in the draft.

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