The Nationals probably know that they’ll hear it from their fans if they fail to draft and sign Stephen Strasburg. From the sounds of it, they’ll probably hear it from their players too:
The Nationals have the first pick in the June draft, so Strasburg can be theirs. All they have to do is take him — and then pay the price.
What’s interesting is that the Nationals’ players seem more interested in how hard Strasburg throws than in how much money he wants. On a team with a $60 million payroll, a team where no player is making more this year than the $8 million the Nats are paying Dunn, there seems to be little or no resentment for a guy who might want as much as $50 million before throwing his first professional pitch.
“I don’t care,” rookie pitcher Jordan Zimmermann said. “It’s not my money” . . . “If he’s as good as everyone says, it makes sense to sign him,” Dunn said. “If he’s as good as everyone says, it’s a no-brainer. He could probably be here in August.”
The way the Nats will blow the Strasburg thing is if they think it’s about money. But contrary to what a good friend of mine says, this time, it’s not about the money, stupid. It’s about credibility. Can the Nats prove to their fanbase that they’re worth the financial and emotional investment? Can they prove to their own players and other players around the league that they’re a credible bidder for their services? Strasburg could end up getting injured or being a bust or both, and if that happens, it will certainly hurt. But nowhere near as much as not bringing him into the fold would hurt this team.