Nationals Option Strasburg To Double-A

The Nationals have optioned 2009 first overall pick Stephen Strasburg to Double-A Harrisburg according to a team press release. He performed as expected in Spring Training, striking out 12 and allowing just two runs in nine innings pitched.

Strasburg would have to remain in the minors for approximately two weeks to have his free agency pushed back one year, and about two months to push his arbitration years back. His salaries are already set for the next three years by the Major League contract he signed out of the draft, so in 2013 the Nats would not be able to offer him less than 80% of the $3MM he will earn in 2012, even if he is still in his pre-arbitration years.

ESPN's Keith Law has also mentioned that the Nationals could be helping out their minor league affiliates, as a Strasburg start would surely drive up attendance. 


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34 Comments on "Nationals Option Strasburg To Double-A"


Pseudonymus Bosch
5 years 4 months ago

It’s also worth pointing out that time in the minors could, you know, help Strasburg himself.

He’s expected to work on adjusting to a five-day pitching schedule rather than seven-days, hone his pitch selection and control, and get practice controlling baserunners.

Pseudonymus Bosch
5 years 4 months ago

Also worth pointing out: Strasburg needs to work on not serving up home runs. In a single Arizona Fall League game he surrendered three homers, and in yesterday’s spring training start he allowed two solo dingers before striking out like the next 6 guys.

dickylarue
5 years 4 months ago

Keith Law is a moron. The Nats aren’t doing this to help out their minor league affiliates attendance. They are doing this to delay his free agency clock.

I would say they were doing this to delay his arb clock, but I don’t think the media and Nats fans will let him sit in AA for 2 months without tearing the building down.

The guy belongs in the majors. End of story. It’s reprehensible that teams get away with this kind of salary game nonsense and that their fans have to pay for tickets knowing they are intentionally not putting the best team on the field.

Pseudonymus Bosch
5 years 4 months ago

Putting him in the majors is a TERRIBLE baseball move. Would you rather have an extra three weeks of Strasburg, or an extra *year* of Strasburg? If you’re saying you’d rather have three weeks of the guy now than an extra year of him later, that’s senseless.

Yes, he is the best pitcher the Nationals have including their major league team, but he does have issues to work out and he does need to adjust to the workload of professional baseball and the smarts of professional hitters.

5 years 4 months ago

Solid point. See David Clyde.

dickylarue
5 years 4 months ago

Looking at the Nats roster, he should be up in that rotation now. I understand the whole “clock” issue, but when you’re a team that barren of pitching talent, intentionally holding back one of your best starters isn’t fair to your paying customers or the rest of the team.

The guy is ready for the majors. Mowing down AA hitters under the eye of a minor league pitching coach isn’t going to speed up the development process. He needs to come up to the majors and take his lumps now and learn his lessons at the highest level so he’s ready to dominate sooner. His stuff is big league quality.

I’m not a Nats fan. I’m a baseball fan and I’m looking for some reason to tune in to a Nats game on MLB Extra Innings once in a blue moon. Strasburg would cause me to tune in.

ReverendBlack
5 years 4 months ago

(1) Not fair to the customers? What?

(2) Even if it’s true that he’d develop faster in the Bigs (doubt it), no one needs him to develop that fast. Letting him take the time in the minors gives the Nationals an extra year of him well AFTER he’s developed. Bringing him up now — EVEN IF he dominated (doubt it) — serves no purpose. The Nationals will be out of contention either way.

(3) As for “sell tickets now”: lol. He’ll sell at least as many AFTER he’s mowed down minor leaguers for a couple of months. And he’ll sell a lot more over the next six years when he’s the Ace of a Nationals team that can hopefully be in a position to contend.

ivdown
5 years 4 months ago

Are you serious right now? This team wont win 80 games with or without him this season. So why A. Rush him and B. make it so you have to pay him millions more in a few years? He should be given time in the minors to adjust, no matter how good he is.

5 years 4 months ago

From what I’ve seen he is not ready for the majors. He needs time to develop. Do you remember a guy named Mark Prior, ya he was rushed and howd that end up for him.

Zack23
5 years 4 months ago

Drafted in 2001, 9 minor league starts in 2002, then.
02: 19 starts, 116 IP, 147 K, 3.33 ERA
03: 30 starts, 211 IP, 245 K, 2.43 ERA
Worked out pretty well; he was already developed. Time in the minors wasnt going to save him from Dusty constantly leaving him out there for 120+ pitches.

The next 2 years he injured his achillis tendon, got a compression fracture in his elbow due to a line drive, and then had his shoulder issues.

RedbirdFan18
5 years 4 months ago

I completely agree with Zack. Prior being rushed had no effect on him. He was good when he came up. It was two years later, after two season of Baker letting him get up to 100 plus pitchers every freaking start that effected him. He got the shoulder issue, which screwed him over.

$1529282
5 years 4 months ago

How do you know he belongs in the Majors? Because of what he did in college? He’s been far from perfect in his small sample against MLB hitting. No one should jump right out of college and into the Majors. Strasburg will benefit tremendously from having at least a handful (4-12) of minor league starts.

ivdown
5 years 4 months ago

It would be irresponsible to bring him up right away to the Majors. Give him time in the minors to face pro competition more than just the AFL and spring training. And you act like trying to save money by waiting a whole 2 months is a bad thing. Look at what Lincecum is doing in SF, do you think the Nats want to pay Strasburg 11 million in his first arbitration year (which could be his 2nd year, though I’m not sure because this article said he is already said to be making 3 mill in his 3rd year)? Pushing him back two months gives him confidence if he can dominate AA hitters and saves the teams millions of dollars. It works out perfectly.

ReverendBlack
5 years 4 months ago

The fans have to pay for tickets?

5 years 4 months ago

Reprehensible? So the fact that the money they’re saving in the long run might go towards another player who could put them over the top doesn’t matter? The extra seasoning he gets in the minors could help him be a better player in the majors. Plus pushing free agency back a year means they get him longer, when he’s likely to be at his peak professional. Frankly I’d be pissed if my team had a guy like Strasburg and didn’t start him out in the minors. There are so many advantages to doing it this way and almost no benefit to starting him out in the majors.

sjberke1
5 years 4 months ago

“I don’t think the media and Nats fans will let him sit in AA for 2 months without tearing the building down.”

That might be true in New York or Boston or Chicago or Cincinnati–but Washington is not a baseball town, and there will be other stories–the Capitals in the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Redskins draft (yes because Washington is a football town). Believe me, the limited local sportstalk shows barely acknowledge the Nats exist; it’s not like having Mad Dog Russo on the case.

Queef Law
5 years 4 months ago

how do you include cincinnati in the same breath as boston new york and chicago and not include st. louis? Just wondering..

Ferrariman
5 years 4 months ago

they made the right choice. his pitching stuff is their but you always gotta work on the other small things like bunting and hold runners. He won’t be their for long.

NYBravosFan10
5 years 4 months ago

No kid right out of college is ready for the big time. I don’t care how well he pitches in spring training. This is a smart move by the Nationals because it will help them financially and make sure this guy gets all the honing he needs to one day (probably this season) become this teams ace for a long time. It’s also cool that I live near Binghamton and go to alot of B-Mets games and the Harrisburg Senators play there sometimes.

Rich_in_NJ
5 years 4 months ago

Whenever he comes up, I can’t wait to see his first ML start.

5 years 4 months ago

I don’t think Law meant that they were sending Strasburg down with the sole purpose of generating more minor league attendance. More that it was going to be a side effect of him being there.

switchhitingjesus
5 years 4 months ago

It was the right decision and probably a hard one for the team to make.

jdub220
5 years 4 months ago

No it isn’t.
The Nats could start him out in the majors and get 6.000 years of service time, or they could wait two weeks and get 6.148 years of service. Not really a difficult choice.

Guest
5 years 4 months ago

You know in the beginning of ST, what the chances of Strasburg starting the season in DC were? Zero..

Why is anyone surprised?

toddboss
5 years 4 months ago

Strasburg starting in the minors, for all of you know it alls who think we should just throw him to the wolves in the majors, is partly for his own benefit and yes partly for the benefit of the club. the Washington Post beat writer laid it out as well as it could be said: link to voices.washingtonpost.com Basically, if Strasburg performs at or close to a Lincecum level of performance the Nats, by sending him down for 2 months, keep him for an additional year AND save $18M. The Giants screwed this timing up (whoever missed this date should have been canned and never get a job in baseball again) and Lincecum hit super-2 status, costing the Giants around $7M this year ($8M salary as super two versus the $700k he would have earned in year 3 of controlled salary).

So, Strasburg won’t be pitching until June 1 in Washington. Exactly; why is anyone surprised?

The_C_money
5 years 4 months ago

I live in the heart of DC, and I can tell you that EVERYONE a) knows who he is b) likes the idea of him starting in the minors. It will drive up attendance — he’s the highest-paid draftee of all time. It could be good to ensure a few extra tix once a week. All the fans I’ve talked to, as 661Dodgerblue said, thought he was starting in the minors, and to be fair, he does need some time to adjust. if that’s a June 1 call-up, fine. We aren’t like Mets fans (or the like) who feel like contending every year is the issue. we want a solid product on the field that, long-term, can compete without them having to jack ticket prices or make ridiculous Marlin-esque maneuvers every offseason.

get it together mates — it’s the right move for him, for the club, and he’ll be amazing regardless.

keithlaw
5 years 4 months ago

I have said in various forums already that sending Strasburg down represents, in part, a favor to the Nationals’ minor league affiliates, since they’ll get a significant revenue boost from every home start he makes. Since those affiliation agreements come up every two years, the major-league team has to take some small steps to make their affiliates happy so that they don’t end up like the Blue Jays did – losing a nearby affiliate (Syracuse) for a distant one in a severe hitters’ park (Las Vegas). That’s not the sole reason they’re sending him down – pushing off his free agency is – but it’s a side benefit.

bomberj11
5 years 4 months ago

This is a smart move. Let him face some pro competition before you throw him right into the thick of things.

bomberj11
5 years 4 months ago

This is a smart move. Let him face some pro competition before you throw him right into the thick of things.

Zack23
5 years 4 months ago

There’s no link to KLaw’s comment, but he does add sarcasm to his work, especially his chats.

So if his comment was, “Sending him down is good because it pushes back his arb-clock, and they get to boost MiL attendence” well you have to take that 2nd part as a joke. Only person looking foolish is someone taking a comment like that seriously.

BK
5 years 4 months ago

You are an idiot. Every single Washington Nationals fan on every level has heard of this kid. He is only the biggest prospect of all time. How are you posting on a message board with such ignroance?

Zack23
5 years 4 months ago

You didnt get a hint of sarcasm from that comment at all? Really? Come on, lets be reasonable and take some humor and not just bash him because you dont like him.

tymyshwo1
5 years 4 months ago

Um if they ever read the newspaper, watch tv, listen to the radio or go online, then they’ll probably have heard of strasburg. Hes one of the most hyped prospects ever, has the highest signing bonus ever, and is all over the media. People will definitely know him. And just to be a devils advocate strausburg is going to attract a lot of major league fans to the minor league games, who dont normally go. I do agree keith law is an idiot and this is not the reason why the nationals are sending him to the minors.

Zack23
5 years 4 months ago

Well sorry that I use some common sense and rationality; like seriously, you think KLaw really meant that comment as anything besides a joke?