Blog Entry

Nationals sign Strasburg

Posted on: August 18, 2009 12:08 am
Edited on: August 18, 2009 1:22 am
 

Desperate for both talented players and good news, the Washington Nationals got a welcome dose of both late Monday night by agreeing to terms with their No. 1 pick, pitcher Stephen Strasburg, on a major league deal worth $15.67 million, CBSSports.com has learned.

It is a record contract for a draft pick, for more guaranteed money than the $10.5, five-year deal pitcher Mark Prior received from the Chicago Cubs following the 2001 draft. Prior was chosen No. 2 overall that year, behind Minnesota's Joe Mauer.

Washington's deal with Strasburg came just minutes before Monday's midnight EDT deadline following several weeks of a public standoff that gave every indication it would keep the participants on edge until the very end. Mike Rizzo, the Nationals' interim general manager, said that the two sides agreed to the deal at "11:58 and 43 seconds."

Rizzo, who called it a "great day for the Nationals franchise", said on a post-midnight conference call that the negotiations were "an amicable but anxious time."

"We were optimistic for the most part," Rizzo said. "We knew Stephen Strasburg really wanted to play professional baseball and be a member of the Washington Nationals."

The deal is a clear win-win situation for both sides.

Washington is desperate to add talented players to its organization, and Strasburg, from San Diego State, is considered the best pitching prospect in the history of the draft, which started in 1965.

The Nationals were widely viewed to have bungled negotiations with their No. 1 pick last year, pitcher Aaron Crow. They lost rights to Crow when they didn't sign him. Kansas City drafted Crow, represented by Randy and Alan Hendricks, in June and he remains unsigned.

Rizzo called the Strasburg negotiations and last year's Crow talks "mutually exclusive."

As for Strasburg, he said, "Not signing Stephen Strasburg would have been very unfortunate for the Washington Nationals. He is an extremely gifted starting pitcher and has a chance to be a front-of-the-rotation guy. Whenever you lose talent like that, it leaves a hole in your organization."

The Nationals also suffered a huge blow last week when one of their top pitching prospects, Jordan Zimmermann, came up with a damaged elbow. Zimmermann, who was 3-5 with a 4.63 ERA in 16 starts for the Nationals this season, will undergo Tommy John ligament transfer surgery and will be sidelined for a year or more.

The right-handed Strasburg, who was 13-1 with a 1.32 ERA and 195 strikeouts for San Diego State this season, receives a record deal and will begin his professional career now rather than sit out like Crow. Had he not signed, Strasburg could have gone back to SDSU for his senior season, signed with an independent-league team or even, perhaps, gone to play in Japan.

He would have been viewed as a pariah in Washington for turning down a record offer and, worst-case, could have gotten hurt before next year's draft.

As things stand now, Nationals president Stan Kasten says Strasburg could pitch in the Arizona Fall League this fall, spend next spring in the major-league camp and, conceivably, be on the opening day roster in 2010. As for how quickly the Nats will get him moving, Rizzo noted that he hasn't pitched since May 28 and said that the club will evaluate where he's at and come up with a plan.

The Nats can use the help, if Strasburg is as good as advertised and develops as quickly as some scouts think he can. At 43-74, they're on pace for a second consecutive 100-loss season.

"We don't view Stephen Strasburg as the savior of the organization," Rizzo said. "He's just another very bright young star we have in the fold. We're very well endowed with young starting pitchers, and he might be at the top of the group."

Lots of folks think he immediately heads to the front of that group.

"Is he ready for the majors?" one major league scout said in April, repeating a question I asked when doing this piece on Strasburg. "That's tough. I look at him and I look at what's out there. Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez ... he's got better stuff. There's nothing like him in the country, I'll tell you that."

The Nationals, and the rest of us, are about to find out.


Comments

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: February 20, 2012 7:25 pm
 

Nationals sign Strasburg




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Tomly
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Since: Nov 26, 2006
Posted on: August 22, 2009 9:55 am
 

Nationals sign Strasburg

SWTGRAD99, I don't disagree with everything you're thinking, and I'm not in love with BorA$$ myself, but there are realities on all sides you have to consider.



1/If you look at the machine that is today's scouting model, every player is a commodity, (plus this, minus that, percentage of possible success...all on a graph, all on paper).  Teams have their formulae and good agents know how teams value each commodity, because I'm sure they subscribe to the same data bank.  At that point, it's like trading on the commodities market, futures aren't sold on today's value, but on future market value, trends, and supporting data.  High risk, high potential reward in this case.

2/If you are Strasburg, and you just take Mark Prior as an example, you have a very high level of risk to brace for in your own ability to stay healthy and keep the arm sewn to its socket.  Right now, he's a guy who throws 100 MPH, and has shown he can still be throwing 98 MPH on the 95th pitch in a game.  Smart money guys, and BorA$$ if nothing else, is that, you hedge against risk, when your value is at its highest unknown. ($15 million hedge in this case)  This for Strasburg is now.  You hire BorA$$ when you know you got something but you don't want to be taken for a ride, (not to be taken for a ride by your agent)...Strasburg and family knew full well what they were doing when they got his business card.

3/Whether we like it or not, it's business.  Look at the Cubs: worth a $20 million deal in 1981, roughly $845 mil in 2009, that's some serious growth in value.   It's business, we are the end consumers, but teams can charge to advertise to us based on their brand.  Guess what, the Nationals' brand just got a lot more "sexy" to sell, and sponsorship prices just went up to cover that $15 Mil.  You sign here Stephen and we'll just start using your image wherever it makes money, and we'll shoot more fireworks that we had on the 4th of July just to make sure people ask "what's going on?" to drive the point even more.  Oh, and since those 7000 tickets wouldn't be sold anyway, let's just give them away for $1.00 to fill the seats and drive the hype to the media buyers...maybe even get a few extra bucks in profit at the concessions.

4/Don't expect this model to change anytime soon...espcecially given that the poorest teams can shell it out when necessary too, thanks to revenue sharing.

Cheers!
 




Since: Dec 13, 2006
Posted on: August 18, 2009 8:00 pm
 

Nationals sign Strasburg

Baseball is a business, you need to accept it.  Players like Stephen Strasburg are limited in supply and there is a high demand for them, Scott Boras is just good at his job. Boras gets players the best contract possible which is what his job is, I do not understand why people rip  on Boras for doing his job right. Yes, it can be a burden to some teams; but, he does not represent the teams, he represents the players. If there is to be a stop to rookies getting contracts like this it has to be done by the owners when they make the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the players.


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com