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: Apr 23, 2009
Posted on: August 18, 2009 12:37 am
 

Nationals sign Strasburg

TJ surgery here we come! Over Rated kids getting over paid! Sports are getting ridick! NFL rookies this year just show you we are coming to a new era in sports...



Since: Jul 29, 2009
Posted on: August 18, 2009 12:36 am
 

Nationals sign Strasburg

This is a great move for the Nationals. He could easily be there #1 starter next year. This at least gives the organization some to build on. They need a reason for the fans to come back to the ball park and this is a great start.

It would have been a PR nightmare for the organization had they not to signed there top pick 2 years in a row.  



Since: Aug 18, 2009
Posted on: August 18, 2009 12:36 am
 

Nationals sign Strasburg

15 million is not excessive. mark prior got 10 million like 8 yrs ago. the going rate goes up as the yrs go by. 15 million was the right price. he may be a stud or a bust but it was the correct dollar amount.



Since: Aug 15, 2006
Posted on: August 18, 2009 12:36 am
 

Nationals sign Strasburg

And everyone says the NHL and NFL salary caps are stupid. How can those people justify this crap??? Time to stop this idiotic sports spending, and put it towards something useful. This is entertainment, not "who wants to be a millionaire'. All for some kid that has done NOTHING!!!!!. And is going to be the saviour of the Nationals,...highly doubtfull. Next,...he's going to be arrested for drunk driving his new porsche that he bought with his multi millions. STUPID!!!!!!!!!



Since: Jul 6, 2009
Posted on: August 18, 2009 12:35 am
 

Nationals sign Strasburg

Star or Bust only your management knows for sure. If the Nationals can wait even one year and let Strasburg gain some experience in rookie, class AA and a start or two at triple A he will be fine.  Fifteen million is alot of cash to waste. Using another sport for example, Michelle Wie would have been better off competing below her apparent skill level,  Being rushed cost her valuable years.



Since: Jul 2, 2007
Posted on: August 18, 2009 12:35 am
 

Nationals sign Strasburg

Your reasoning is idiotic, because you would hire Boras too.  He is a prospect and hasn't accomplished anything, he should try and get all he can now to insure against the possibility that he never pans out... You would do the same, it's just a good business decision.  If he DIDN'T sign looking for more money then he would be an idiot, because his stock will never be higher than it is now.



Since: Aug 18, 2009
Posted on: August 18, 2009 12:33 am
 

Nationals sign Strasburg

no, you are wrong. 15 million is what he should have got. the 10 million that mark prior got was about 8 yrs ago. the going rate for a phenom has gone up with the times.



Since: Aug 18, 2009
Posted on: August 18, 2009 12:32 am
 

Nationals sign Strasburg

yea and if he is as good as projected,he will be a yankie in a couple of years.....baseball needs a cap!




Since: Apr 5, 2008
Posted on: August 18, 2009 12:32 am
 

Nationals sign Strasburg

$15 million is ridiculous for someone who has never thrown a pitch of pro ball. I used to like him, but I hope he struggles!!! Greedy bastards!!!!



Since: May 13, 2009
Posted on: August 18, 2009 12:31 am
 

Nationals sign Strasburg

None of these things hurt the fans, look at football.  Salary cap and players make so much less with no guaranteed money, yet, the price of tickets and merchandise is still ridiculously high.  Owners use the big salaries as an excuse to charge more for tickets, not a reason.


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