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.