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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Stephen Strasburg limit decided

... later, based on “the eye test.”  Which makes this a dumb headline.  Sorry.

General manager Mike Rizzo told ESPN Wednesday that he alone will decide when [Stephen] Strasburg’s 2012 All-Star season will end, and that it’s not necessarily at the 160-inning mark that has been talked about so often…

“There is no magic number,” Rizzo said. “It will be the eye test. (Manager) Davey (Johnson) won’t decide and ownership won’t decide. It will be the general manager, and that’s me.” ...

As for those thinking Strasburg could be given a few weeks or a month off, then return, Rizzo says don’t count on that happening.

“When it happens, Stephen will not pitch again until spring training (in 2013),” he said. “We tried something similar with [Jordan] Zimmermann last year and he just could not get going again. We won’t make the same mistake.” ...

For his part, Strasburg, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2009 draft out of San Diego State, said he will fight the decision, which has never been conveyed to him by any member of the Nationals staff.

“I said it recently, they’ll have to rip the ball out of my hand,” Strasburg said Wednesday night, “and I mean it.”

Johnson and pitching coach Steve McCatty have been careful with Strasburg, who has logged 105 innings in 18 starts, an average of just under six innings per start. The rhetoric surrounding this decision, however, is sure to continue.

“We’ll do it my way,” Rizzo said. “I have the full support of ownership on this issue. It’s my decision and I’ve made it. There will be no going back on the decision.”

The District Attorney Posted: July 19, 2012 at 09:52 PM | 120 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: nationals, stephen strasburg

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   1. McCoy Posted: July 20, 2012 at 12:33 AM (#4187727)
Like I said in the earlier thread, there was no way they were going to shut Strasburg down this season after 160 innings.
   2. Jim (jimmuscomp) Posted: July 20, 2012 at 12:49 AM (#4187731)
Here's a question: what do they do with their roster when they shut him down? He isn't disabled, isn't sent to AAA, so a 24-man roster for a month?!?
   3. Sunday silence Posted: July 20, 2012 at 12:49 AM (#4187732)
It always seemed like a bizarre story from the beginning; at least if you took the media commentary at face value. For me, they are obviously not committing themselves to any pre set number of innings; so they can always let him pitch say once more in Sept. if the division is on the line.

I guess the real question would be if say he tosses 175 inn, in regular season and these guys are playing for the pennant. I would think they use him, but then you have RIzzo saying if they shut him down that's it for the year.
   4. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: July 20, 2012 at 12:54 AM (#4187733)
Here's a question: what do they do with their roster when they shut him down? He isn't disabled, isn't sent to AAA, so a 24-man roster for a month?!?


Don't forget the expanded rosters in September.

If I had to guess I'd expect some form of 6 man rotation that allows them to give Strasburg and Zimmermann an extra day off and keep their IP down, as well as stricter pitch count limits for the games they do pitch. I don't see them wasting an opportunity at a WS title because they reached their goal a year early.
   5. boteman is not here 'til October Posted: July 20, 2012 at 01:04 AM (#4187737)
Cole Hamels to the rescue!

Strasburg hasn't been overwhelmingly impressive in his last few starts. Zimmermann has been the top dog in the rotation, then Gio (minus his performance Thursday). I'm thinking Rizzo has a shopping list and the company checkbook so there might very well be a new pitcher wearing the curly W come August 1.

They just might ask Chad Cordero to hang around and pitch some this weekend.
   6. Dr. Vaux Posted: July 20, 2012 at 01:14 AM (#4187743)
The post-season is a crap shoot. If the Nationals get there, they'll have just as much chance of winning the World Series if they trade for Jake Arrietta and start him instead of Strasburg.every third game. They'll have just as much chance if they start him every game, and a lineup of 8 cloned Ian Desmonds against the resurrected Big Red Machine.
   7. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: July 20, 2012 at 03:05 AM (#4187768)
There continues to be no stupider story in sports than this one. A first place team, presumably in the hunt for the World Series choosing to "save" on of their players for next year as if there is some bigger prize to play for down the line. With, of course, no real proof that "saving" him actually does any good what so ever. And now they are going with the one man eyeball test to determine when to shut him down. Couldn't be more ridiculous if you tried.

Pitchers can go at any time. No one knows how to keep them effective. Quit pretending you do. If you've got a pitcher that is effective, use him until he stops being so, send him in for repairs and repeat.
   8. Jason Michael(s) Bourn Identity Crisis Posted: July 20, 2012 at 03:10 AM (#4187769)
Yeah, I think this is utter nonsense. Strasburg will pitch in the playoffs should the Nats make it, unless he is actually injured. Either that or Rizzo is simply a stubborn idiot.
   9. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: July 20, 2012 at 03:52 AM (#4187772)
The post-season is a crap shoot. If the Nationals get there, they'll have just as much chance of winning the World Series if they trade for Jake Arrietta and start him instead of Strasburg.every third game. They'll have just as much chance if they start him every game, and a lineup of 8 cloned Ian Desmonds against the resurrected Big Red Machine.


Um, no. The team with better players has a better chance of winning in the postseason. The Nationals have a better chance winning with Strasburg than without him.

But in the playoffs, where the sample size is so small, random variation overwhelms the odds. The best team has the best chance to win, but "everyone else" combined is more likely to win than they are.
   10. BrianBrianson Posted: July 20, 2012 at 05:42 AM (#4187782)
Guy has a 197 OPS+ - he'll make a hell of a difference if it's a close race for the division.
   11. Brian White Posted: July 20, 2012 at 07:15 AM (#4187783)
Um, no. The team with better players has a better chance of winning in the postseason. The Nationals have a better chance winning with Strasburg than without him.

But in the playoffs, where the sample size is so small, random variation overwhelms the odds. The best team has the best chance to win, but "everyone else" combined is more likely to win than they are.


I suspect you missed the joke.
   12. Al Peterson Posted: July 20, 2012 at 08:11 AM (#4187791)
Strasburg has now hit the 35 games started mark for his career so that's about one full year of starting (OK it took 3 years to do it but he had that pesky arm situation). Statline:

16-8 2.60 ERA 197 IP 158 H K/BB 251/48(!!) ERA+ 152

If Mike Rizzo wants to shut that down there could be a wee bit of opposition...
   13. Joey B.: posting for the kids of northeast Ohio Posted: July 20, 2012 at 09:10 AM (#4187820)
You really do have to love it when the big story headline says the exact opposite of the truth.
   14. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: July 20, 2012 at 09:30 AM (#4187827)
If I had to guess I'd expect some form of 6 man rotation that allows them to give Strasburg and Zimmermann an extra day off and keep their IP down, as well as stricter pitch count limits for the games they do pitch. I don't see them wasting an opportunity at a WS title because they reached their goal a year early.

The problem with this is that you're doubling down. Let's say that the limit is actually 175. They give a few extra days off here and there and Strasburg hits 173 in his last start of the year, and the Nats make the playoffs. Now what? Do you pitch him in the first round of the playoffs, probably giving him another 13 innings? What if you make it to the second round?

Under the "opportunity for a title" logic, you could see Strasburg going well over 200 innings. I'm not debating the logic in him pitching that much, but if the team's goal is to keep his innings down, they have to shut him down.
   15. Bitter Mouse Posted: July 20, 2012 at 09:37 AM (#4187830)
I think the issue of what to do with a young pitcher is interesting. The trade offs are complex and there are many unknowns. I tend to side with the fact that the future is unknown and flags fly forever, so go for it, but I think a case could be made it is smarter to hold off a bit, decreasing your chance to win this year but increasing that same chance to win it all in the future.
   16. Bitter Mouse Posted: July 20, 2012 at 09:43 AM (#4187835)
#14. I don't think the real object is to limit his innings (though that is what they keep saying, I admit). The object is (or should be) to allocate innings to maximize the amount of success the team sees now and in the future.

As you get further along (second round of playoffs) the risk/reward mix changes. But yeah no matter what logic you use you can end up in a bad place.
   17. McCoy Posted: July 20, 2012 at 09:50 AM (#4187843)
If Strasburg was signed to a 10 year contract you should think about the future but since he isn't and you have a shot at winning it all this year he should pitch as long as he is effective. Why shut him down now when you have a chance to win it all just so you have a chance to win it all 3 years from now? The point is to win WS titles and like the old adage about it could rain tomorrow you don't let a real chance go by just because you might have a chance at some point in the future.
   18. just plain joe Posted: July 20, 2012 at 09:52 AM (#4187845)
I think the issue of what to do with a young pitcher is interesting. The trade offs are complex and there are many unknowns. I tend to side with the fact that the future is unknown and flags fly forever, so go for it, but I think a case could be made it is smarter to hold off a bit, decreasing your chance to win this year but increasing that same chance to win it all in the future.


The flaw with that argument is that you are, essentially, telling your fanbase that we are not 100% committed to winning this season. It is true that teams sometimes do this but I don't think the Nationals can afford to; given their history they need to win this year if they can. In any case no one knows what is going to happen next year or in any year in the future, as they say flags fly forever. If the Nationals are worried about Strasburg and his usage then have him skip the occasional start, but don't just shut him down for the season in mid-August, or whenever. Even if the Nats did that and did go on to make a successful post-season run I feel that the negatives would still outweigh the positives.
   19. SoSH U at work Posted: July 20, 2012 at 09:55 AM (#4187847)
If Strasburg was signed to a 10 year contract you should think about the future but since he isn't and you have a shot at winning it all this year he should pitch as long as he is effective. Why shut him down now when you have a chance to win it all just so you have a chance to win it all 3 years from now? The point is to win WS titles and like the old adage about it could rain tomorrow you don't let a real chance go by just because you might have a chance at some point in the future.


Especially considering it sounds like Strasburg will be mighty pissed at the organization if he gets shut down this year while the club is in the playoff hunt. If they're going to have to "rip the ball out of his hands," I don't think protecting him for the future (one that doesn't have to happen in Washington) is worth it.

   20. jyjjy Posted: July 20, 2012 at 10:20 AM (#4187867)
You really do have to love it when the big story headline says the exact opposite of the truth.


Not even just the opposite of the truth, but seemingly the opposite of the actual text of the article wherein that truth is explained. I don't expect much out of headlines but this is pretty bad.
   21. Guapo Posted: July 20, 2012 at 10:29 AM (#4187873)
Strasburg's innings per season since entering college:

2007: 37
2008: 97
2009: 109
2010: 123
2011: 44
2012 (to date: 105

Strasburg is an enormous talent, but he is also only 23 and incredibly fragile. If you're going to run up his innings you not only run the risk of injuring him again, but you have no guarantee he's actually going to be effective, because he's going to be headed into uncharted territory.

I trust Rizzo's judgment on this one.
   22. Rants Mulliniks Posted: July 20, 2012 at 10:48 AM (#4187888)
They should just make him a Gossage-style closer for the rest of the year, or permanently.
   23. ThisElevatorIsDrivingMeUpTheWall Posted: July 20, 2012 at 11:04 AM (#4187898)
Same story overdone. He's not pitching in the playoffs no matter how you parse the numbers. No one is pitching this guy 200 innings after an arm injury when they are going to want him pitching for four, five, etc. more years for them. He's not a free agent after this year or next. It may not fit the Zimmermann template, and probably be more than 161 innings now that there's something at risk, but I don't think Rizzo is lying about an eventual shutdown. It's not a negotiation except in that Strasburg would like to pitch more, which is what he should be saying, but he has also said previously that he will abide by the club's decision without complaining, at least publicly. The only issue becomes, are they going to really need a fifth starter more than five starts or so? Lannan is fine for that if they have a five game lead, he can be very average when necessary.
   24. bunyon Posted: July 20, 2012 at 11:11 AM (#4187907)
If they're going to shutdown Strasburg, they should absolutely not be out in the market for pitching, unless they give up nothing. Shutting him down is playing for next year. Therefore, being a buyer for short-term help this year makes no sense.
   25. boteman is not here 'til October Posted: July 20, 2012 at 11:11 AM (#4187908)
Lannan is fine for that if they have a five game lead, he can be very average when necessary.

Even less than average, as he has been in the minors. If they really wanted to take a flyer and piss away opportunities, pitch Henry Rodriguez as a starter until he explodes, then it's a roster move that makes itself. And solves another problem in the process. :-)
   26. TerpNats Posted: July 20, 2012 at 11:12 AM (#4187910)
I think the issue of what to do with a young pitcher is interesting. The trade offs are complex and there are many unknowns. I tend to side with the fact that the future is unknown and flags fly forever, so go for it, but I think a case could be made it is smarter to hold off a bit, decreasing your chance to win this year but increasing that same chance to win it all in the future.

The flaw with that argument is that you are, essentially, telling your fanbase that we are not 100% committed to winning this season. It is true that teams sometimes do this but I don't think the Nationals can afford to; given their history they need to win this year if they can. In any case no one knows what is going to happen next year or in any year in the future, as they say flags fly forever. If the Nationals are worried about Strasburg and his usage then have him skip the occasional start, but don't just shut him down for the season in mid-August, or whenever. Even if the Nats did that and did go on to make a successful post-season run I feel that the negatives would still outweigh the positives.
If the Nationals hadn't arrived as a contender a year ahead of schedule -- let's say they were 46-44 at this point, not 53-37 -- no one would argue with doing with Strasburg what the Nats did with Zimmermann last year. I can understand Strasburg's competitive zeal, but I'd rather have the window open for a few more years than put all my eggs in one year's basket.
   27. ThisElevatorIsDrivingMeUpTheWall Posted: July 20, 2012 at 11:15 AM (#4187914)
Every Nationals fan knew coming into this year that Strasburg would not be pitching in the postseason barring a in-season hiatus due to an injury of some sort. This is no surprise whatsoever except that it matters more than we all figured. But the rotation is fine, it's the lineup that might not be up to snuff. Strasburg was helping the Nats score too, he can hit a fastball.
   28. ThisElevatorIsDrivingMeUpTheWall Posted: July 20, 2012 at 11:18 AM (#4187917)
Nope, Lannan has been average, he just had to adjust to being dumped into AAA. I know the guy gets no love for his stats as a groundball pitcher without good control, and he's been paid too much to be traded, but he is pretty much the definition of average in the results he has gotten at the major league level for 700 innings or so.
   29. bunyon Posted: July 20, 2012 at 11:22 AM (#4187922)
If the Nationals hadn't arrived as a contender a year ahead of schedule -- let's say they were 46-44 at this point, not 53-37 -- no one would argue with doing with Strasburg what the Nats did with Zimmermann last year. I can understand Strasburg's competitive zeal, but I'd rather have the window open for a few more years than put all my eggs in one year's basket.

Basically, it boils down to how much risk you think there is an additional(say) 20-30 innings. I think there is almost no additional risk, so I think they should use in the stretch run. If you think there is significant risk, you don't want to use him.

But it sounds like an awful lot of people think there is certainty: set him down after 160 and he'll be fine next year. That is foolish (and a bit of a strawman, perhaps - maybe I'm reading more into it than is there).

I think the Nats (and those of you arguing for protecting him) will look very, very stupid if they, for example, shut him down with a 4 game lead, blow it to fall to the wild card and then lose the wild card game.


Also, if you shut him down at 160 this year, how many does he get next year? 190? 200? unlimited? How long do you keep limiting him?


If I were Rizzo, I'd keep pitching him with the rotation. But, if he ever looked shaky or ineffective early, I'd lift him his first AB. If he were pitching and I got a big lead, I'd sit him down. If I clinch, I go back to once a week and limit him to 4 or 5 innings per start. But, right now, the Nationals are in first place and look to be as good or better than everyone in the NL. They have a very real chance of winning a pennant or World Championship. There is absolutely no guarantee that will be the case ever again. You go for it. Otherwise, what the hell is the point?
   30. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: July 20, 2012 at 11:24 AM (#4187926)
Shutting him down is playing for next year. Therefore, being a buyer for short-term help this year makes no sense.

Or they could do both.
   31. ThisElevatorIsDrivingMeUpTheWall Posted: July 20, 2012 at 11:25 AM (#4187928)
Bunyon, they babied the crud outta the guy with pitch counts, extra days of rest, careful progression through the minors for several starts at each level, and he STILL needed TJ surgery, you seriously think they are going to treat him like Verlander all of the sudden? Bad idea.
   32. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: July 20, 2012 at 11:28 AM (#4187931)
ThisElevatorIsDrivingMeUpTheWall, they babied the crud outta the guy with pitch counts, extra days of rest, careful progression through the minors for several starts at each level, and he STILL needed TJ surgery, you seriously think that all this careful treatment really prevents injuries? Bad idea.
   33. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: July 20, 2012 at 11:28 AM (#4187933)
Strasburg is an enormous talent, but he is also only 23 and incredibly fragile.


On what basis is he "incredibly fragile?" I ask this sincerely because other than the Tommy John surgery I don't remember him being held out of starts due to this and that. I realize the TJ surgery alone implies some fragility but that's so common these days that I wouldn't be that bothered by it if I were the Nats.

I personally think they are crazy if they shut him down. Honestly, if they are this worried about him they should trade him, the return for him would be ungodly. There is no reason they shouldn't be able to manage him and keep his innings in a reasonable place while still having him for October if necessary. There isn't science behind this decision, there isn't a clear indication that 160 innings is OK but his arm will burst into flames at 180, it's basically a glorified hunch.

The 80s Mets got 9 out of 10 healthy years from Dwight Gooden and it got them one title and Strasburg isn't 1985 Dwight Gooden. If he is this fragile then he's getting hurt sooner than later anyway and you may as well go for it while you can.

I'm not saying they should blow him out and let him throw 250 innings but to just shut him down and not have their best pitcher in the playoffs based on a glorified hunch, that's ####### crazy.
   34. SoSH U at work Posted: July 20, 2012 at 11:31 AM (#4187936)
If I were Rizzo, I'd keep pitching him with the rotation. But, if he ever looked shaky or ineffective early, I'd lift him his first AB. If he were pitching and I got a big lead, I'd sit him down. If I clinch, I go back to once a week and limit him to 4 or 5 innings per start. But, right now, the Nationals are in first place and look to be as good or better than everyone in the NL. They have a very real chance of winning a pennant or World Championship. There is absolutely no guarantee that will be the case ever again. You go for it. Otherwise, what the hell is the point?


If I'm Rizzo, I meet with Strasburg and explain the organization's case for sitting him. If he's on board, announce the date, that it was the organization's decision, Stephen's a competitor and wanted to keep playing, etc.

If he truly wants to keep pitching, then I let him go. I'm not alienating my guy (and the fan base) just to protect him from himself.

   35. ThisElevatorIsDrivingMeUpTheWall Posted: July 20, 2012 at 11:33 AM (#4187940)
All your answers are in the article, Crispix. They are not messing with this guy. The ready example they have is Strasburg is having the same issues as Zimmermann last year, where the reliability of his stuff has fluctuated a lot.
   36. bunyon Posted: July 20, 2012 at 11:36 AM (#4187942)
Bunyon, they babied the crud outta the guy with pitch counts, extra days of rest, careful progression through the minors for several starts at each level, and he STILL needed TJ surgery, you seriously think they are going to treat him like Verlander all of the sudden? Bad idea.

Did I say treat him like Verlander? Is there no room between shutting him down and riding him like a proven horse? (No answers from Dusty Baker accepted).


As you say, they babied him and he still needed TJ. Clearly babying him didn't help too much. As Jose says, if they think he can't be used like a starting pitcher, they should trade him this year. They'd get a ton of help. For a few years from now when they apparently think they might be a contender.
   37. Guapo Posted: July 20, 2012 at 11:45 AM (#4187953)
On what basis is he "incredibly fragile?" I ask this sincerely because other than the Tommy John surgery I don't remember him being held out of starts due to this and that.



He went on the DL for the first time in July 2010 with shoulder stiffness. Then he came back in August, tore his ular collateral ligament, and underwent TJ surgery.

This year, he got pulled from a game in May after the mysterious "Hot Stuff" incident. He's also been pulled early from games with "bicep tightness", a cut finger and heat exhaustion.

Some of that stuff is just freaky, but I think taken as a whole, Strasburg has proven to be less than durable so far.

   38. ThisElevatorIsDrivingMeUpTheWall Posted: July 20, 2012 at 11:46 AM (#4187957)
I think messing with the guy, pitching him two innings here and there wouldn't be easy for him either, he wouldn't really be helping the team much as a glorified reliever as starter in late August. Rizzo says that they won't shut him down for a month and then gear him up again for the postseason, because they tried something similar with Zimmermann last year without success. Now every pitcher is different, but the story has remained the same the last few years, the development guys don't like to add huge amounts of innings over a year like that with a young pitcher. I don't think the injury changes their perception of what he can eventually be, just the timeline to build up arm endurance to the point where he becomes Secretariat in 2014 or something.
   39. Joey B.: posting for the kids of northeast Ohio Posted: July 20, 2012 at 11:46 AM (#4187959)
The ready example they have is Strasburg is having the same issues as Zimmermann last year, where the reliability of his stuff has fluctuated a lot.

I don't think the reliability of his stuff has fluctuated all THAT much. OK, perhaps May was slightly shaky, but other than that he has been just fine.

If Strasburg has had an issue this season, it's that there have been some times when his control hasn't been pinpoint precise, but really this is a nitpick. He has been one of the best pitchers in baseball this season, exactly like you would expect from a guy who strikes out well over 11 guys per nine innings.
   40. ThisElevatorIsDrivingMeUpTheWall Posted: July 20, 2012 at 12:04 PM (#4187981)
It's really hard to tell because his stuff is so good, but it does seem like he's been in more jams lately. I agree about the command nitpick, I think there have been a few more long counts and fouled off pitches extending at bats. The guy is hard on himself, so it's tough to tell what the expectations really should be anyway. He would have kept pitching with the torn ligament if I remember right, he was trying to stay in that game.
   41. TerpNats Posted: July 20, 2012 at 12:06 PM (#4187984)
BTW, Zimmermann and Verlander are the only pitchers in the majors this year who have gone at least six innings in every start. If the 2013 Strasburg has a good chance of similar durability, I say shut him down when he reaches his 2012 limit.
   42. McCoy Posted: July 20, 2012 at 12:27 PM (#4188008)
I'm perfectly willing to bet a BRef subscription that should the Nationals make the playoffs that Strasburg will pitch in them.
   43. PepTech Posted: July 20, 2012 at 12:53 PM (#4188053)
My son throws the javelin at a D1 university and had TJ surgery last year. From all I have learned about both the injury and the surgery, at this point, the ligament is the least likely point of failure going forward. The concern is for the musculature surrounding the ligament, in that it lost tone and stamina during the layoff. Shutting him down around in the 160-180 range makes sense for that reason, but only if you squint.

Since he came back at the end of last season and pitched, the other way to look at it is that he pretty much has that all back, assuming he's been following an intelligent rehab regimen for nearly two years now. That's where I think I am sitting - which is to say, the TJ can be taken out of the equation. If they want to limit him just because he's young and hasn't pitched that many innings before, well, Felix threw 190IP at 20, and Joba Rules didn't exactly become the new Moneyball.

Verdict: pitch him in the playoffs, or you're stupid.
   44. Ron J2 Posted: July 20, 2012 at 01:07 PM (#4188081)
#15 The thing is that while there's no compelling evidence on so much of the injury/workload issue, the evidence in favor of being risk adverse with young pitchers is fairly clear. The "Strasburg rules" more or less follow what Craig Wright suggested many years ago.

Still:

A) It's not a hard and fast rule. There are enough exceptions that
B) Flags do fly forever and
C) A certain number of young pitchers break no matter how gently you handle them.
   45. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: July 20, 2012 at 01:13 PM (#4188089)
I don't quite understand the idea that he can't be shut down for a month and come back up. Don't players do that all the time when they get hurt, or play in the AFL or something? What is different?
   46. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: July 20, 2012 at 01:29 PM (#4188106)
Also, if you shut him down at 160 this year, how many does he get next year? 190? 200? unlimited? How long do you keep limiting him?


"Limiting" a guy to 190-200 innings isn't that hard, especially on a team that doesn't score a ton of runs in a non-DH league.

Joba Rules didn't exactly become the new Moneyball.


There are two things that people always seem to forget or ignore about Joba -- 1) he was already injured when drafted (it's the reason he fell to the Yankees in the first place) and 2) the plan adopted for transitioning him from reliever to starter actually worked about as well as anyone could have hoped (he was one of the most effective SPs in the league by August of 2008 and was right on track for the number of innings they had targeted). And then he got hurt anyway.
   47. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: July 20, 2012 at 01:37 PM (#4188117)
I don't quite understand the idea that he can't be shut down for a month and come back up. Don't players do that all the time when they get hurt, or play in the AFL or something? What is different?


He's not hurt. My own whacky idea would be to keep him in the rotation but just pull him after one time through the lineup for the next six weeks or so.

BTW, Strassburg is averaging 5.8 IP/start and would be scheduled for 14 more starts this season. That would put him at 187 innings for the season.
   48. McCoy Posted: July 20, 2012 at 01:46 PM (#4188126)
I don't quite understand the idea that he can't be shut down for a month and come back up. Don't players do that all the time when they get hurt, or play in the AFL or something? What is different?

But they don't just get shut down for a month cold and then get thrown into the rotation. They have a rehab assignment that gets them back into "shape" to pitch at the major league level. So a pitcher may be gone for a month but perhaps only half of that time he isn't throwing.

   49. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: July 20, 2012 at 01:53 PM (#4188138)
But they don't just get shut down for a month cold and then get thrown into the rotation. They have a rehab assignment that gets them back into "shape" to pitch at the major league level. So a pitcher may be gone for a month but perhaps only half of that time he isn't throwing.


The Nats should be able to manage that if that's the route they choose to go. Have him throw bullpens, simulated games, work out in Florida with the GCL team or some other process. Shutting him down completely looks to me like a PR thing rather than some well thought out plan. It's almost childlike; "fine, he can't throw 220 innings so we'll show you, we'll lose in the NLDS rather than let him get close to that number, nyah nyah nyah."

There are many ways to limit his innings beyond shutting him down for a month. This really shouldn't be a difficult question.

I agree with your earlier statement though. If the Nationals are in the playoffs, Stephen Strasburg is pitching game one.
   50. SoSH U at work Posted: July 20, 2012 at 01:55 PM (#4188145)
He's not hurt. My own whacky idea would be to keep him in the rotation but just pull him after one time through the lineup for the next six weeks or so.


If you're determined to keep his pitch count down, that's exactly what I'd do. And Davey's the kind of manager that could pull it off.
   51. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 20, 2012 at 02:00 PM (#4188152)
maybe they go howard emhke and have him take september off so he can pitch a game in each round of the playoffs?
   52. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: July 20, 2012 at 02:00 PM (#4188153)
If the Nationals are in the playoffs, Stephen Strasburg is pitching game one.


The difference isn't overwhelming or anything, but I would think that Zimmermann has earned that nod.
   53. bunyon Posted: July 20, 2012 at 02:01 PM (#4188155)
The difference isn't overwhelming or anything, but I would think that Zimmermann has earned that nod.

THis would also go with the "limit his innings" mantra. He pitches one LDS game, not two. Two LCS games, not three. Etc.
   54. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: July 20, 2012 at 02:03 PM (#4188159)
If you're determined to keep his pitch count down, that's exactly what I'd do. And Davey's the kind of manager that could pull it off.


Turning half of his remaining starts into three-inning outings would project him to around 170 innings for the season.
   55. KT's Pot Arb Posted: July 20, 2012 at 02:20 PM (#4188182)
The flaw with that argument is that you are, essentially, telling your fanbase that we are not 100% committed to winning this season.


GMs that start listening to their fans end up sitting with them.

Rizzo can tell them, no, we aren't 100% committed to winning this season, we are 100% committed to building the best core team that can win for the next 5 years.

Guess what? If they win, more fans will come to games. If they don't, fewer will. That will be true both this year and next and the following years.

Anything Rizzo says or does isn't going to change that fact.
   56. Chris Needham Posted: July 20, 2012 at 02:33 PM (#4188191)
If everything lines up for the playoffs (which it never does) and Strasburg pitches as your number one (which he might not), you're trade two Strasburg starts for an extra Edwin Jackson start, and a Ross Detwiler start.

Sure, Strasburg gives you a better chance than either of these, but it's not like the team has to turn it over to some AAA cannon fodder.
   57. thetailor Posted: July 20, 2012 at 02:58 PM (#4188208)
I am hearing both sides on the "shut him down at 160" versus the "flags fly forever" camp -- but why no discussion of potentially limiting him now and then using him in the playoffs?

Look at it this way -- the Nationals are probably going to make the playoffs. Baseball Prospectus has them at 85%. http://www.baseballprospectus.com/odds/ Why not skip him alternating starts, or take him out of the rotation altogether for August?

If Strasburg somehow makes it to September 30th at 160 innings or less, and the Nationals are in the playoffs, I don't think there is any question that you let him pitch. Is anyone REALLY advocating that the Nationals don't pitch him then?

I say hey -- the difference between Strasburg and Lannan for the month of August alone is likely to be 1 or 2 games. I make that trade-off to have him come playoff time.
   58. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 20, 2012 at 03:09 PM (#4188216)
post 57

see post 51

i suspect if the nationals manage to get the lead to six games or more davey might have him sitting for a few starts here or there and if the nats somehow blow it open just plop him down for a good stretch before a warm up start before the playoffs

but that is a very rosy scenario
   59. McCoy Posted: July 20, 2012 at 03:15 PM (#4188219)
If the Natioanals would just trade for Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster, and Alfonso Soriano they could go to a 7 man rotation and have shore up their offense. They'd win the division by 15 games. Come on Rizzo, get on that.
   60. Natty Fan Posted: July 20, 2012 at 03:15 PM (#4188220)
I do understand the "flags fly forever" arguments for risking Strasburg's future performance for a pennant run this year. What I don't understand is the implicit assumption that these 2012 Nats are a fluke contender that probably won't see another chance like this to win it all again.

According to BB-ref, they are the youngest team by "Pitcher Age" in the NL, the second-youngest by "Batter Age," they've experience significant injuries to key players all year (Morse, Zimmerman, Werth, Storen, Ramos) and (factoring in pythag wins) they're still on pace for 94 wins.

Again, I generally agree with Leo Durocer when he said, "Don't save a pitcher for tomorrow; it might rain tomorrow," and with lawyers when they disclaim, "Past performance is no guarantee of future results," but is it a really hubris to take a risk on future success? If anyone's extended outlook calls for more playoff appearance (especially in this new, two-wildcard world), I think it's the Nats.
   61. Joey B.: posting for the kids of northeast Ohio Posted: July 20, 2012 at 03:20 PM (#4188224)
...and Alfonso Soriano

Is he available?
   62. ThisElevatorIsDrivingMeUpTheWall Posted: July 20, 2012 at 03:22 PM (#4188228)
The "eye test" has been consistent:

End of 2011 season from Rizzo - "If we're lucky enough and improved enough to be playing meaningful games in September and [Strasburg's] pitch limits are up, just like Jordan Zimmermann this year, he will be done. We'll sit with our plan and we'll stick to it."

April 2012 from Rizzo - "We're not going put a clear and concise number of innings. We're going to watch him, we're going to evaluate him, but where we're at in the standings in September is not going to dictate what we do with this guy. Hopefully we'll be playing some meaningful games at the end of the season, but if we feel that he's had enough he'll be shut down just like [Jordan Zimmermann] was last year when he got to his limits.

"There will be a limit," Rizzo said, "I can't put a concrete number on what the limit is. We're going to use our eyes and experience level to determine when he's had enough. When I've determined he's had enough, we're going to shut him down just like we did Jordan Zimmermann last year, and hopefully we'll have the depth in our rotation to absorb that. He's a terrific young pitcher, but after throwing 60 innings in 2011, we're certainly not going to let him go out there and throw 200 innings in 2012
   63. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: July 20, 2012 at 03:25 PM (#4188230)
I am hearing both sides on the "shut him down at 160" versus the "flags fly forever" camp -- but why no discussion of potentially limiting him now and then using him in the playoffs?


I don't think there is a lack of discussion of that issue. A number of people have noted that there are ways to limit him but still have him available for October. I think that's the frustration for those of us who feel shutting him down is a bad idea. There are ways to limit innings without a full on September/October shut down.


I do understand the "flags fly forever" arguments for risking Strasburg's future performance for a pennant run this year. What I don't understand is the implicit assumption that these 2012 Nats are a fluke contender that probably won't see another chance like this to win it all again.


Who has said they are a "fluke?" I think the bigger issue is the one you address with the Durocher quote. I think if you look at the mid-80s Mets or the early 00s Cubs you see a couple of teams that are reasonable comps for the Nats that only got 1-2 real good shots. The Nats look like they should be a contender for the foreseeable future but #### happens man. It would really suck for baseball fans everywhere if the Nats shut Strasburg down for his first post-season then due to injury or something else he never got that chance again.
   64. Chris Needham Posted: July 20, 2012 at 03:31 PM (#4188240)
[60]

Not picking on you, but this is always portrayed as "risking" Strasburg... as if having him pitch another 15-20 innings is a near guarantee to injure him again. With this team, and Jordan Zimmermann's successful comeback, there are a lot of people pointing and saying "see, that's the right way." But Z'nn is a different person. He heals differently. He has different stuff. He has different mechanics. None of this is science. And there's no certainty either way.

What I don't understand is the implicit assumption that these 2012 Nats are a fluke contender that probably won't see another chance like this to win it all again

They're not a fluke, per se, but the NL is as week this year as it's likely to be for a while. Philly might right the ship. ATL is usually a piece or two away (and had bad injury problems). Maybe the Mets will spend. While you can't point to the Nats as a team and say that they've had a ton go their way, if you look at them in the context of the league as a whole, this is their best shot.

I made that sort of point on twitter a few weeks back and one of the team's old beat writers amplified it, using the Washington Capitals as an example. If you go back 3-4 seasons, the sky was the limit. It seemed like their window was opening for the next 5 years. Yet here they are a few seasons later, sort of going back to the drawing board, never having gotten over that hump.

So it's easy to look at these things and think "Yeah, we can contend in the next 3-4 years". But you never know. What if Gio collapses? What if Z'nn gets hurt again. What if Ryan Zimmerman keeps getting injured? There are a million possibilities of things that could shut that window down sooner than we'd all like.

All that being said... I don't think shutting him down, or slow-playing him is the right way to go. They just need to monitor the crap out of his starts. Use pitchfx... track his arm angle. Track movement on his pitches. Use ANY piece of data they can get to isolate ANY measurble changes in his stuff. When it's getting to where it's degrading, then yank him. If that's September 15, so be it.
   65. thetailor Posted: July 20, 2012 at 03:36 PM (#4188247)
The Nats look like they should be a contender for the foreseeable future but #### happens man.

Man, you said it. The 2006-2008 Mets looked like they would be contenders for a while but Delgado was done quick, Reyes got run out of town, and we're eagerly awaiting Mike Baxter's return from the DL.

   66. ThisElevatorIsDrivingMeUpTheWall Posted: July 20, 2012 at 03:37 PM (#4188248)
Strasburg probably has 14 starts left if there were no limits, if you wiggle that a bit and skip a turn because he got a hangnail, delay a start because of the flu, maybe pull him early a start or two because of high pitch counts, since he only has 105 innings so far, you can keep him going with about 160-165 or so innings for this "year" and still have him available for the playoffs. I really doubt that will happen, but then Rizzo wouldn't have to eat the hundred times he's said there was a limit this year in one fashion or another and that 200 innings would be unreasonable. He could be the third starter in each series, should they continue. The odds are crazy against it happening.
   67. Joey B.: posting for the kids of northeast Ohio Posted: July 20, 2012 at 03:45 PM (#4188257)
They're not a fluke, per se, but the NL is as week this year as it's likely to be for a while. Philly might right the ship. ATL is usually a piece or two away (and had bad injury problems). Maybe the Mets will spend. While you can't point to the Nats as a team and say that they've had a ton go their way, if you look at them in the context of the league as a whole, this is their best shot.

I disagree. While Philly will probably play better the rest of this season than they have so far, the reality is that they're done and they're not going to be a legitimate contender again for a while. The Mets are a bad team that had a fluke first half and is coming back to reality now.

Atlanta is legitimately good and will continue to provide us the most competition, but I see the Nationals as being one of the best teams in the N.L. for the next three or four seasons, especially if Giolito can fully recover from his injury. He has the potential to be nearly as good as Strasburg is. Yes, you can play the "what if" game with injuries and everything, but you can do this for pretty much any team.

Also, the Nationals just might be the best-positioned team in all of baseball to significantly increase the payroll moving forward. We're still very low relative to the league, our attendance is rapidly going up in conjunction with our quality, and with some luck we'll pretty soon be getting a lot more money from the scumbag Angelos, even if we have to sue him or take him to an arbitrator.
   68. Chris Needham Posted: July 20, 2012 at 03:51 PM (#4188266)
C'mon... there's an easy path forward for Philly with that pitching staff. It's not hard to find competent outfielders. And whether he's a WAR whipping boy or not, Howard's better than what they've had. Mets have flaws, but there's also the potential that the $ situation gets fixed, and they improve.

And if you're projecting Giolito to do anything -- especially in the next 2-3 seasons -- well... let's just say, you're thinking quite optimistically!
   69. PepTech Posted: July 20, 2012 at 04:06 PM (#4188281)
There's a whole lot wrong with this analogy, but for some reason Dan Marino comes to mind when I think about an Operation Shutdown that precludes Strasburg from pitching in the postseason.

The 1995 Indians might be a better one. As a thought exercise, would you rather have Strasburg lead the Nats to a WS title in 2012, after which he is done - or would you rather make the playoffs six out of seven years and never win it all?

EDIT: Those aren't the only real-life options, obviously - I *said* it was a thought exercise. As an M's fan I think I'd take the former.
   70. McCoy Posted: July 20, 2012 at 04:13 PM (#4188285)
The only thing we know for sure is that this is the Nats' best shot right now. The future is a murky maybe. Hell, next off season Zimmerman or Gio could hurt themselves and miss the season while the Braves, Phillies, or Mets reload. The window is open right now.
   71. ThisElevatorIsDrivingMeUpTheWall Posted: July 20, 2012 at 04:14 PM (#4188287)
Philly is in a bad spot. Hamels will probably leave, they probably want Victorino to, Howard's contract will still be bad, and Halladay, Rollins, and Utley will be moving further from their primes. It all rests on Chooch's BABIP. Lee will still be good, and I guess Worley isn't terrible, but big deal.

Rizzo is probably looking more at the 90s Braves model where you only get one WS win and it's disappointing. God help us if Strasburg becomes the closer...
   72. McCoy Posted: July 20, 2012 at 04:18 PM (#4188290)
Milwaukee Brewers of the last 5 years or so say "heyyyyyy".
   73. Guapo Posted: July 20, 2012 at 04:22 PM (#4188292)
The 1995 Indians might be a better one.


What about the 2003 Cubs if you DON'T shut Strasburg down? I think that's what Rizzo is probably scared of...
   74. ThisElevatorIsDrivingMeUpTheWall Posted: July 20, 2012 at 04:22 PM (#4188293)
The other thing is, it's not the like the Nationals have been flush with overall luck, every guy seems to need surgery on the team. They probably drafted Giolito thinking they'll just get that pesky surgery out of the way early. The future of the offense seems oblique.
   75. PepTech Posted: July 20, 2012 at 04:32 PM (#4188299)
Put this another way. Are the Nats contenders *for the playoffs* for the next 5 years even without Strasburg? If the extra wildcard makes this answer "yes", then I KNOW I would trade his left arm for a WS title in 2012. They can follow the Cardinal path in seasons to come, that's worked pretty well.
   76. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 20, 2012 at 04:34 PM (#4188303)
the brewers only underachieved in the sense that folks ignored pitching/defense and focussed only on the position players hitting ability. milwaukee in 2009 was third in the nl in runs scored but the pitching/defense were a really bad combo. in 2010 4th in runs scored but again pitching/defense were ugly

the likes of joe sheehan pegged the brewers as a real comer because they could hit and forgot to consider the other parts of the equation.

when the brewers shored up the pitching and defense in 2008 and 2011 they won and made the playoffs.

pretty simple
   77. bunyon Posted: July 20, 2012 at 04:34 PM (#4188305)
What about the 2003 Cubs if you DON'T shut Strasburg down? I think that's what Rizzo is probably scared of...

Right. No one is saying throw him a ton. Certainly if you find it's 11-1, he doesn't need to throw 317 pitches.
   78. Chris Needham Posted: July 20, 2012 at 04:36 PM (#4188308)
f the extra wildcard makes this answer "yes"

But in some ways, the extra wild card makes anything but winning the division a pretty crappy result. I mean, if you make WC2 and lose, most people wouldn't even consider that a playoff appearance. It's like the poor 16 seeds battling it out in that stupid NCAA play-in game.
   79. Justin T., Director of Somethin Posted: July 20, 2012 at 05:50 PM (#4188350)
Nobody here said anything interesting.
   80. Guapo Posted: July 20, 2012 at 05:55 PM (#4188352)
Nobody here said anything interesting.


That's because you're drunk.
   81. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: July 20, 2012 at 06:15 PM (#4188360)
Philly is in a bad spot.


I wouldn't be in such a hurry to write off the rest of Lee's and Halladay's careers. Plus people always seem to forget that they make a crap-ton of money these days.

EDIT -- I meant that the Phillies make a crap-ton of money; I don't think anybody forgets that Lee and Halladay are paid very well.

I KNOW I would trade his left arm for a WS title in 2012.


I'm sure most fans would gladly turn Strassburg into a right-handed Jim Abbott, but unfortunately the question is whether you'd trade his right arm for a WS title.
   82. McCoy Posted: July 20, 2012 at 06:25 PM (#4188364)
What about the 2003 Cubs if you DON'T shut Strasburg down? I think that's what Rizzo is probably scared of...

Well, if Strasburg is as fragile as Prior and Wood then he should just throw him out there as long as he can. Secondly as you may recall that Cubs team was just 5 outs away from the WS and never got close to the WS again.



Kerry Wood was out all of 1999 and started playing again in May of 2000. He pitched 137 innings. In 2001 he pitched 174 innings. Mark Prior pitched a total of 167 innings in 2002 and then pitched 211 innings in 2003. The biggest strike against management, to me, on their handling of Prior was that they made him pitch deep into games and Dusty didn't pull him right away after the collision with Marcus Giles. I don't think total innings was the problem but the amount of pitches he had to throw per game and Dusty not being careful after a nasty collision.
   83. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: July 20, 2012 at 08:04 PM (#4188444)
Secondly as you may recall that Cubs team was just 5 outs away from the WS and never got close to the WS again.

This point works both ways. While I'm sure many Nats fans would trade post-2012 Strasburg for a 2012 World Series, having Strasburg is no guarantee of winning that World Series. Just like Wood and Prior didn't guarantee the Cubs. We're just talking about odds here. If you assume that the injury risk is real, you have to say "what are the odds of winning the WS with Strasburg?" vs. "what are the odds of winning the next 5 years with this team, having a healthy Strasburg?". If you're going to argue that the next 5 years are uncertain then you have to acknowledge that 2012 is uncertain also. Plus of course, if Strasburg does blow out his arm in inning 181, you won't have him for the playoffs anyway.

The real question is whether shutting him down will keep him healthy. If you assume that it won't help, you pitch him, end of discussion. If you assume it will help, then you have to weigh the odds.
   84. Ebessan Posted: July 20, 2012 at 09:12 PM (#4188478)
So, the Nats have a nine run through the first five (meaning that Stephen will get the win, so nobody could object to pulling him before the decision). He then goes out and gives up a two-run homer. Really good use of him.
   85. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 20, 2012 at 09:46 PM (#4188490)
There may not be a consensus, but the Nationals believe it is a Best Practice to limit pitchers in the 1st full season after TJ surgery. They did it with Zimmermann and they'll do it with Strausburg. They might be wrong, but they don't think so. They also don't think the various stretch out/shut down alternatives are without heightened risk, so they aren't going there, either, unless they have been blowing smoke all year.
   86. boteman is not here 'til October Posted: July 21, 2012 at 12:09 AM (#4188551)
Based on the results of tonight's experiment, I say shut down the bullpen.
   87. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: July 21, 2012 at 12:19 AM (#4188555)
Really good use of him.


I thought it was excellent, personally.
   88. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: July 21, 2012 at 06:59 AM (#4188597)
I don't think there is a lack of discussion of that issue. A number of people have noted that there are ways to limit him but still have him available for October. I think that's the frustration for those of us who feel shutting him down is a bad idea. There are ways to limit innings without a full on September/October shut down.

The point of shutting him down is to give his ligament and muscle fibre actual time to heal and repair some of the damage done. If he's throwing bullpens and long toss sessions basically every day, that isn't going to happen, even if you skip starts or limit him to 50 pitches or whatever. This is a case where limiting workload and limiting innings aren't actually synonymous.

I think if you look at the mid-80s Mets or the early 00s Cubs you see a couple of teams that are reasonable comps for the Nats that only got 1-2 real good shots.

So the early 00's Cubs are an argument against shutting him down?!?!
   89. Zach Posted: July 21, 2012 at 07:20 AM (#4188598)
So the early 00's Cubs are an argument against shutting him down?!?!

According to BBref, Mark Prior earned half his career WAR in 2003. If shutting him down early dramatically affects his ability to stay healthy after that, I think you do it. But if it's all a wash, all you're doing is robbing him of his time in the spotlight.
   90. McCoy Posted: July 21, 2012 at 08:20 AM (#4188606)
This point works both ways. While I'm sure many Nats fans would trade post-2012 Strasburg for a 2012 World Series, having Strasburg is no guarantee of winning that World Series. Just like Wood and Prior didn't guarantee the Cubs. We're just talking about odds here. If you assume that the injury risk is real, you have to say "what are the odds of winning the WS with Strasburg?" vs. "what are the odds of winning the next 5 years with this team, having a healthy Strasburg?". If you're going to argue that the next 5 years are uncertain then you have to acknowledge that 2012 is uncertain also. Plus of course, if Strasburg does blow out his arm in inning 181, you won't have him for the playoffs anyway.

Sure there is no guarantee but the point was that the odds in 2003 for the Cubs and the odds for the Nats in 2012 are significantly in their favor while future odds are largely unknown and future events are largely uncontrollable.
   91. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: July 21, 2012 at 08:26 AM (#4188608)
The point of shutting him down is to give his ligament and muscle fibre actual time to heal and repair some of the damage done. If he's throwing bullpens and long toss sessions basically every day, that isn't going to happen, even if you skip starts or limit him to 50 pitches or whatever. This is a case where limiting workload and limiting innings aren't actually synonymous.


If that's the point, then there shouldn't be any talk of a specific number of innings or an eye test or anything else. The plan should be to shut him down on a date certain, without regard to how much or how well he's thrown by that date, or how he's looking or feeling.
   92. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: July 21, 2012 at 10:39 AM (#4188640)
If that's the point, then there shouldn't be any talk of a specific number of innings or an eye test or anything else. The plan should be to shut him down on a date certain, without regard to how much or how well he's thrown by that date, or how he's looking or feeling.


Well, first of all, neither you nor I know what their actual plan is. For all you know, that is exactly what they are doing. The only thing I know for certain, is that public comments by a team executive are barely worth the bandwidth to send them. He's going to say whatever he thinks will play best with the public that he can get away with. If that happens to be the truth, it's purely by coincidence.

Secondly, I would think the best course would be to have Strasburg scanned after every start, and have a doctor examine his arm, and evaluate the situation. I don't see why this should be a decision made by a manager with tobacco stains on his uniform, a suit with a business degree, or a know-it-all fan on the internet.
   93. Joey B.: posting for the kids of northeast Ohio Posted: July 21, 2012 at 10:49 AM (#4188645)
C'mon... there's an easy path forward for Philly with that pitching staff. It's not hard to find competent outfielders. And whether he's a WAR whipping boy or not, Howard's better than what they've had.

Their pitching staff isn't that great any more; they have a team ERA+ of 95. Their starters are OK, but their bullpen is horrible.

I'm telling you, you can stop worrying about the Phillies. Take a really good hard look at how freaking old the core of that team is. They're so damn old they're practically eligible for Social Security. They drive Buicks. They've fallen, and they can't get up. They have to call their doctors when their erections last longer than four hours. They pop out their dentures on a lark. They wear their pants hiked up to their armpits. They eat dinner at like 4:00. They drink Metamucil. You get the picture.
   94. Lassus Posted: July 21, 2012 at 10:53 AM (#4188649)
I'm telling you, you can stop worrying about the Phillies.

Joey may have had last night's chatter all wrong, but I'd agree with him on this.
   95. McCoy Posted: July 21, 2012 at 11:11 AM (#4188657)
They are old but they have talent. It won't take a ton of variables all clicking into place for them to be very good next year. The next year or two might very well be their last hurrah.
   96. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: July 21, 2012 at 04:12 PM (#4188775)
They have to call their doctors when their erections last longer than four hours.


Anyone should call a doctor if his erection lasts longer than four hours.

But again, the thing you're forgetting is money. The Phillies are probably the closest team in MLB to having Yankee-like resources at their disposal. They have a $175M payroll and no need to scale back. With Blanton and Victorino coming off the books, they can afford to pay Hamels and then some. Yes, they're old, but they were old in 2009 too.
   97. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: July 21, 2012 at 04:17 PM (#4188779)
Well, first of all, neither you nor I know what their actual plan is. For all you know, that is exactly what they are doing. The only thing I know for certain, is that public comments by a team executive are barely worth the bandwidth to send them. He's going to say whatever he thinks will play best with the public that he can get away with. If that happens to be the truth, it's purely by coincidence.


Well, first of all, if you'd said any of that in the first place, no one would have argued with it. And as soon as I finished responding to what you did post, it occurred to me that maybe there really is a target date rather than a target number of innings, but that Rizzo is just spinning as you suggest. Although I'm not sure why "we've decided that the best course of action is for him to have a longer off-season to recover after his first season back from surgery" would play any worse than the things Rizzo has been saying.
   98. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 21, 2012 at 05:12 PM (#4188804)
Re Strasburg, I am in line with Joe Sheehan's views on this. Quoting from his newsletter:

The Nationals continue to insist that he will be shut down to protect his arm rather than used to complete what could be a championship season. I've written about this in the newsletter, but let me just ask one question: what makes the Nationals so sure that saving 600 pitches at the end of 2012 will make it that much more likely that Strasburg stays healthy for future championship runs? Follow-up: isn't the uncertainty surrounding exactly what it takes to keep pitchers from getting hurt more than enough to push the issue into the "let him pitch" column?


Within reasonable boundaries of pitcher usage, we know almost nothing about how or why they get hurt. People think that Rany Jazayerli's pitcher abuse system(s) were a failure because they didn't show us much. But that is precisely why his systems were _not_ a failure. He had a reasonable system that showed which pitchers were being "abused" by his various definitions -- but, at least as I recall the results, he was unable to really tie that in to which pitchers were being hurt.

   99. OsunaSakata Posted: July 22, 2012 at 07:06 AM (#4189020)
The Phillies are finished for 2012. The "everybody ahead of them has no pennant race experience" is such garbage.

The biggest threats to the Nats are the Braves and other wild card teams.

   100. TerpNats Posted: July 22, 2012 at 10:23 AM (#4189035)
I'm telling you, you can stop worrying about the Phillies. Take a really good hard look at how freaking old the core of that team is. They're so damn old they're practically eligible for Social Security. They drive Buicks. They've fallen, and they can't get up. They have to call their doctors when their erections last longer than four hours. They pop out their dentures on a lark. They wear their pants hiked up to their armpits. They eat dinner at like 4:00. They drink Metamucil. You get the picture.
"Wheeze Kids II." Where's Paul Owens when you really need him?
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