From day one of the current Major League Baseball season the Washington Nationals have as a plan to shut down ace pitcher Stephan Strasburg at about 160 innings. The reason for doing so is his Tommy John surgery of two years ago and medical advice to do so because of such surgery. Lewis Yocum, the surgeon who operated on Strasburg, concurs. The Nationals do not want to risk further injury of Strasburg as they plan to be World Series contenders for many years.
However, when the decision was made, no one knew that this season to date the Nationals would have the best record in baseball, will certainly make the playoffs and are contending for the World Series.
The are experts such as Leo Mazzone, the pitching coach of the Braves, who do not agree with the Nationals' plans.
"I think it’s absolutely ridiculous," Mazzone continued. "I think that it’s been 79 years since Washington’s gone to a postseason. And you know what, you think of the Adam LaRoches of the world. These guys have a shot, they have a legitimate shot — with the best rotation in baseball with Strasburg in it — to go to the World Series. And to shut this down like this is absolutely ridiculous.
Even Tommy John himself does not think that Strasburg should be shut down.
"You’ve got a chance to win now," Tommy John said. "Now, I don’t say you trash the kid, but you pitch him. And maybe somewhere down the road you skip his turn, you give his arm a little rest. But if I were a fan of the Nationals, I would be SO upset. That I’ve got a chance to be in the playoffs, maybe be in the World Series, and you’re taking that away from me?
"From the time I came back until I quit in 1989, I never missed a start in 13 years," Tommy John continued. "Now, we were archaic back there, but here’s my take on the thing: There’s no guarantee [if] you shut him down. The Yankees screwed Joba Chamberlain over. I mean, this poor kid has had all kind of problems, and they had Joba Rules....It didn’t help him a bit. He still had to have Tommy John surgery.
Tommy John as a pitcher, especially in his last years with the Yankees, was a stocky sinker ball pitcher. Strasburg is a lanky, ninety-eight mile per-hour pitcher whose delivery makes him susceptible to elbow injury. So, in this instance maybe Tommy John's advice is not the best.
I am a Nats fan and have tickets reserved for all Nats' playoff games including the World Series, so maybe I am biased. I was of the opinion that only the Yankees are contenders for the World Series year end and year out. Thus, while the Nats may be like the Yankees if they save Strasburg for the future, its no given for any team other than the Yankees. With a shot at a World Series, I said, let him pitch. After all, he could get hurt next year even after being shut down.
As I wrote, I was of that opinion. Not so anymore. The reason. Scott Boras. Scott Boras is a primo A-hole agent, and he is the agent for Strasburg, Harper, Werth, Espinosa (all starters for the Nats-three of them being stars) and the Nationals' three top minor league prospects. Boras demands that teams put a players health above the team.
"The good thing about Rizzo, when I had Strasburg — and you know he was a 20-year-old draftee, a year early — I said, ‘Look, you want to draft these players? Great, but you know what, I’m not on board," Boras said he told Rizzo. "We won’t sign and I’ll send them back to college. I want to make sure we have an organization that will put the health of these players first."
This site has a number of very knowledgeable baseball fans who post/comment. I have a vested interest in the Nationals. I was wondering what my site colleagues think.