Will the Nationals sign Stephen Strasburg?


The Washington Nationals have until Monday night to sign Stephen Strasburg, the No. 1 pick in the MLB draft. Unfortunately for them, Strasburg’s agent is Scott Boras, who has already upped the Nationals offer to the largest for a draft pick in baseball history.

Since 1965, when the draft began, only one pitcher taken in the top 18 spots in the first round has ever won 200 or more games (Kevin Brown). All-time greats? There’s not one out of more than 300 such selections. Based on the history of high picks, Strasburg should be viewed as having a good chance to become a very good pitcher. But not more. No pitcher taken in the first four overall picks has ever won a Cy Young Award or made more than two all-star teams. Worst of all, major health concerns, such as the elbow surgery that top Nats prospect Jordan Zimmermann now needs, demonstrate the fragility of pitchers. Bid high. But beware. The No. 2 overall pick next year as compensation may be almost as good.

Strasburg can play somewhere next year — an independent league or, conceivably, Japan, though he might be poorly received there — then reenter the 2010 draft. Maybe his hometown Padres would get him. Maybe a better economy or a different owner would bring a better deal. Besides, he could avoid the Nats if he thinks they are a ship of fools.

I fail to realize why everyone thinks Stephen Strasburg is the answer to all the Nationals’ problems. The 21 year-old kid didn’t even play in the best division in college and has since had trouble reaching 100 mph on his fastball. One pitcher is not going to fix possibly the worst franchise in baseball. Before the Nationals sign any arm, they need to secure a solid batting order — you know, the guys that play every game. Granted he doesn’t get hurt and he wins each of his starts, Strasburg can win the Nationals around 35 games. Of course, that’s not going happen, and that is only a fifth of the regular season. Hey Nationals, instead of dumping over $20 million into the Strasburg/Boras campaign, if you really want a starting pitcher, why don’t you go after a guy who’s already established himself? Strasburg is not going to win you a World Series, nor is he going to produce a sea change in attendance. He is a such a small piece to the puzzle, I feel bad for the Nationals fans that see Strasburg as their great hope.

Get a good collection of hitters. Stop signing big bats (Adam Dunn) that can’t hit for average. Acquire some pitchers who have been in the league longer than half a season. And lastly, don’t let Scott Boras make a bigger joke out of your franchise than you already are.

Strasburg will more than likely sign with the Nationals. I think he wants to get in the majors as quickly as possible instead of farting around in another league.

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Is Stephen Strasburg the next great thing or the next Mark Prior?

After the Washington Nationals took San Diego State phenom Stephen Strasburg with the first overall pick of the 2009 MLB Draft, the first question that came to everyone’s mind was – will he sign?

Strasburg’s agent is Scott Boras, who is someone that would rather sell his mother on eBay than not overcharge a team for one of his client’s services. The pre-draft buzz was that Washington is willing to pay whatever it takes to sign Strasburg, but we’ll see what happens when the two sides actually come to the negotiating table.

The second question on everyone’s mind is – how good is this kid?

As a sophomore at SDS, he went 8-3 with a 1.57 ERA and struck out 133 batters in 97.5 innings of work. Four of his 13 starts that year were complete games and two were shutouts. Through May this season, he posted a 13-1 record with a 1.32 ERA and 195 strikeouts in 109 innings pitched.

The scouting report on Strasburg is eye-popping; his fastball tops out at 103 mph, his curve has excellent movement and his slider can clock in the 90s. If the Nationals absolutely needed him to pitch this season (which they don’t – there’s no reason to rush him), some believe that he’s even major-league ready now.

But there’s no such thing as a “can’t miss prospect” and Strasburg isn’t immune to criticism. Some believe he could be the next Mark Prior in that he’s injury prone because he puts too much pressure on his wrist and his elbow comes up too high in his release (which usually signals arm problems down the road). Throw in the pressure that comes along with being the No. 1 overall pick (not too mention a No. 1 pick who will eventually sign for $50-plus million) and all of a sudden you realize that transportation to bustville runs 24 hours a day.

Personally, I hope Strasburg lives up to the hype. The Nationals need him to be great and so does baseball, which is slowly starting to clean up its image. There has been a major buzz surrounding him and fans can’t wait to see him go toe to toe with major league hitters. Here’s hoping he has a bright and successful future ahead of him.

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