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, 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.


Since: Jan 17, 2007
Posted on: August 18, 2009 12:31 am

Nationals sign Strasburg

As far as him being the best pitcher in the history of the game of baseball is idiotic thing to say.  He pitched for San Diego and was it North Carolina that hit him all over the field.  Can't throw a fastball for every pitch.  This is a perfect time for Strassburg and his agent Boras to do what they did...they are trying to push the evelope and force the Nationals to give him more money up front...and they won.  It is all his agents fault for doing this and I will never look at this kid the same way getting pulled along like a damn PUPPET...$15 Million Dollars and I wish no bad or ill will on the young man but really.  I mean they are not just doing it in baseball but in football and basketball and it will continue to do on.  This is truly a game of strategic chess...these players will set out if they feel they are being undervalued...period.  No and if's or buts about it they ones laying out the plan and hurting these young men is their this case "BORAS". 

Since: Jun 28, 2007
Posted on: August 18, 2009 12:30 am

Nationals sign Strasburg

Based on what Boras wanted the Nats got him for a good price.  $15 million is way too much for an unproven pitcher but wasn't Boras talking $50 million?  They need a salary cap for rookies in the draft.  MLB and NFL both need it.  The worst team in the league should get the best player to help build and not be burdened with a huge salary.  If there was value with some sort cap similar to the NBA it would give some hope to fans of teams like the Nats.  The vets need to get the union to agree to a rookie cap.  I'm sure there will be resentment in the clubhouse until Stasburg proves himself.

Since: Jul 6, 2008
Posted on: August 18, 2009 12:29 am

Nationals sign Strasburg to a bargain

Baseball revenues have tripled since Prior got the last biggest contract for a prospect. Strasburg got double. If the Nats had signed Strasburg to a record contract in relation to the rise in baseball revenue he should have got $24 million. Nats got a bargain.

Since: Aug 21, 2007
Posted on: August 18, 2009 12:29 am

Nationals sign Strasburg

It's $15.67 million.

Since: Jan 14, 2007
Posted on: August 18, 2009 12:28 am

Nationals sign Strasburg

still what a shame for the game. He'll be another Kelley, or Leaf, I'm sorry but standout D-1 player does not mean standout MLB. Just ask the other thousand players over the years who went in first round yet never made it to the show. Thank you Mr. Boras you have driven yet another spike into the life of MLB what a shame.

Since: Oct 15, 2007
Posted on: August 18, 2009 12:28 am

Nationals sign Strasburg

Good for him to get the money when he can.  The Nats will rush him to the show and get him on the clock so he can become another flame out or injury prone potential superstar.

Since: Sep 18, 2006
Posted on: August 18, 2009 12:28 am

Nationals sign Strasburg

Yeah ,we should boo the kid out of college for wanting to guarantee his future.  The Nationals bring in over 100 million a year probably a lot more so what is 15 million to them?  Its not that big of a deal.  What happens if this kid blows out his arm and never pitches again? This kid isn't alex rodriguez leaving for a bigger pay day when he has 100 million in the bank already.  He has nothing.  This is the only time in the near future he has any control of his situation and you want to boo him for using it.  You guys are rediculous.

Since: May 13, 2009
Posted on: August 18, 2009 12:26 am

Nationals sign Strasburg

Whether it's a good signing or not will depend on the next 5 years.  If he busts, it will hurt every can't miss arm after him and he'll be the one pointed to when clubs say they won't pay.  If he ends up being a superstar someone with a worse arm will get a better deal in the near future.

Since: Jul 6, 2009
Posted on: August 18, 2009 12:26 am

Nationals sign Strasburg

Strasburg may be oerpaid but you must admit that Scott Boras earns his money.  To get a rookie salary cap would most likely take a work stopage and I don't think baseball, as we know it today, would survive that.

Since: Oct 29, 2006
Posted on: August 18, 2009 12:25 am

Nationals sign Strasburg

I think if guys dont' sign to play with the team that drafts them that they should be banned from the sport for life. 

Contracts should also be peformance based. 

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