The Nats players want Strasburg

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.

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  1. Rob² said...

    Gotta take issue with Mr. Zimmerman’s approach to economics.  True, it’s technical the Nationals money that would directly pay Strasburg’s bonus, but every dollar spent on Strasburg is a dollar that can’t be spent elsewhere, like on a second-year player’s salary.

  2. kendyanmo said...

    eh, ive heard this credinility arguement before with the mets and pedro.  the nats fan base will grow by dinit of DC’s demographics, and those fans will start spending money on nats stuff once the nats start winning, and thats it.  only the already hardcore fans are going to know who stasburg is anyway.  its not like theres a flood of dc fans waiting to be christened only after the nats sign strasburg. 

    im still in the its still about the money and think the nats should ignore all the talk and hype and make the best business decision for them.

  3. Wooden U. Lykteneau said...

    Generally, speaking the Lerners-are-cheap complainers are usually the bandwagon fans who are still disappointed that they can’t switch their allegiance back to the Orioles but would in a heartbeat if they revert to pre-Angelos form.

  4. Jason @ IIATMS said...

    Had to weigh in here, albeit a bit late (work calls, sorry)….

    I agree that the Nots (not a typo) NEED to get Strasburg for the credibility issue you raised.  But I also think Zimmermann is wrong, as Rob² noted above: the Nots’ payroll pie is finite.  Giving Strasburg an disproportionate amount of that pie could be a mistake.  With attendance plummeting in DC, it could be a big mistake.  Of course, if the Nots draft him in June, sign him in July and bring him up in August, he might become the next Fernando/David whathisname from Texas in the 70’s… maybe he pays for himself by boosting attendance every 5th home game.

  5. mkd said...

    I think the Nats will have a major credibility problem if the DO draft him. He has no professional track record, costs waaaaay too much money, and would financially cripple a team that needs to build a balanced lineup if they ever want to win more than one game in a row. They need to put together a WHOLE TEAM not overpay for, let’s face it, a pitching prospect.

    (This has nothing to do with the fact that he would fall to the Ms if the Nats took a pass. Nothing at all.)

  6. Millsy said...

    Seeing numbers eclipsing $50 million dollars, I would have to pass on this guy with the 1st pick unless I wanted to take a chance in bringing that $$ amount way, way down.  Considering the top payed pitchers in the game make this amount over 3 years (and assuming that’s their true value to the YANKESS AND METS), I don’t see how Strasburg is really worth an investment like that.  Pitching is so volatile, given probability of the hits vs. misses in super duper pitching prospects in the past (Luke Hochevar, Kris Benson, Matt Anderson, Bryan Bullington, Paul Wilson, Brien Taylor…), his true EXPECTED MPT to the Nationals (not a large market team) would have to be somewhere in the range of $800,000,000 over the course of whanever that $50 million is dispersed (no more than 6 or 7 years, really).  That’s more than anyone makes…by a lot…even if he’s 10 times as good as Kris Benson.  So this seems silly to me.  Of course, I’m not sure how that $50 million would be paid out.  Price got less than $9 million gauranteed. 

    I guess assuming he puts up similar stats to his college numbers (36-0 seasons, etc.), then he could produce some absurd amount, but I just don’t see this being a wise investment.  Wait until he proves himself in the bigs for someone else.  It’s likely they’ll only get 2 or 3 very good years out of him…but they essentially paid for it anyway given the $50 million price tag.

  7. JFC said...

    It is terrible that MLB doesn’t let you trade draft picks. The Nats could fill many other holes with ready players .

    With Strassburg and his inverted W throwing motion it is more when he gets hurt then if. Way too much torque on the arm . Would have been great if it was like the NFL and they could trade down 2 spots and pick up some MLB players and a still get another top flite college arm or bat.

    The biggest downside is the history of pitchers taken #1 overall is terrible. Everyone has been a flop up until Price who still hasn’t had his chance. And the last pitchers to have this much hype around them.. Ben Mcdonald and Alan Benes.

  8. BT123 said...

    “Generally, speaking the Lerners-are-cheap complainers are usually the bandwagon fans who are still disappointed that they can’t switch their allegiance back to the Orioles but would in a heartbeat if they revert to pre-Angelos form.”

    That’s not even remotely true.

  9. Wooden U. Lykteneau said...

    Yes, it is. And you know it. They’re also the same folks that are pining for Chad Cordero—an overrated reliever that was in decline *before* he hurt his shoulder—and are silent when the I-told-you-so folks reminded them about what would (and did) happen with Shawn Hill (go back on the DL within a month).

  10. OsandRoyals said...

    I disagree with kendyanmo.  Think about how many fans know about Weiters and Price. Everyone has been saying Strassburg is the best pitching prospect ever or at least the past decade or two. All taht hype will hit the press and people will go to watch just to say they saw him. Just knowing that the team has an ace will bring fans.

    I really see the signing as a double-edged sword. Sign him and know he’s probably gonna be spending time on the DL in about 4 years but that you’ll actually be considered a legit team or sign somebody else and get all the bad press u can get and avoid the injury and the money loss

  11. Real Baseball Intelligence said...

    Real Baseball Intelligence (RBI), a leading resource in the evaluation of amateur baseball talent and draft coverage, has ranked Stephen Strasburg the #1 prospect in the 2009 MLB Draft.  View his free scouting report (with video) at

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