Lost In The Football Frenzy, Stephen Strasburg Is Done For The Year
Since the New York Mets will again be sitting out the playoff party I was set to root on Davey Johnson and his Washington Nationals. Now I am not so sure. I will probably still root for the former Mets skipper but he and his ballclub have made a dreadful choice and it has finally come.
Despite claiming just the week before that fireballing righty Stephen Strasburg would get 2 more starts, his last in NY against Matt Harvey and the Mets, the Nationals manager has declared Strasburg not mentally able to perform and has shut him down for the rest of the season.
This topic has been long debated, and I still believe this is a terrible mistake. If the Nats were on this plan all along why not limit Strasburg earlier in the season so he would till be able to pitch in the playoffs if the Nats qualified? Now with the clincher in sight their ace will not be in sight.
Strasburg was not good in his last start, getting hammered by the Florida Marlins. Johnson claims "THE DECISION" which will be long debated, more so if the Nats get beat early in the playoffs, has been weighing on the right hander and he was unable to focus so he chose to shut him down now.
You can only imagine how Strasburg must feel. Sure, wealth and fame are great things, but playing to win is what you remember long after the career is done and the money in the bank. You also have to wonder whether Strasburg appreciates the coddling or will hold it against his franchise when and if his contract ends and other suitors come calling. Will the pitcher hold it against his agent Scott Boras who claims he was in on the choice to shut down the pitcher, coming off Tommy John surgery last year?
I do know this: it must be awkward for the young phenom to face his teammates even though he had nothing to do with this critical choice. He won't be there for the biggest games, the playoffs, not by his doing, but will they wonder or ask themselves about a teammate being coddled like no pitcher in major league history?
What will camp and spring training be like for Strasburg next year? Will the Nats continue the training wheels approach going further? Will vets like Adam Laroche hold it against him? Chances to win that ring don't come along that often, unless you pitch for the Yankees.
So the big righty with the big fastball and the bigger hook has been shelved against his wishes. If you are the rest of the National League you have to be smiling today, not having to face this dynamo in the biggest games.
Will GM Mike Rizzo regret this decision? Will Davey Johnson, whom I still believe didn't endorse this fiasco, ever get another shot at a title and will he want to return next year if his chances of winning the big prize be diminished. He has proven he can still manage a baseball team so perhaps another team will inquire of his services, even if he is approaching 70 years of age.
This one decision by the Nats has created a mound of new controversies and could have been avoided. The question now is how will Washington handle this choice and what effect will it have moving toward the post season?