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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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   101. wealz Posted: July 22, 2012 at 11:35 AM (#4189057)
It's beyond idiotic to shut him down given the position the Nationals are in and borders on the commisioner stepping in and and invoking "in the best interests of baseball" clause to keep him pitching. It's bad enough that teams who are out of the race influence the winners/losers by resting their best pitchers the last couple weeks of September.

As a compromise why don't they start his 2013 season in the middle of May? Even though I really don't think these limits do anything positive for the pitcher or especially the team.
   102. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: July 22, 2012 at 12:17 PM (#4189060)
It's beyond idiotic to shut him down given the position the Nationals are in and borders on the commisioner stepping in and and invoking "in the best interests of baseball" clause to keep him pitching.


If I were making the decisions in DC, Strasburg would pitch until he showed actual signs of tiring down the stretch, with a wary eye on his game-to-game and inning-to-inning pitch counts. (I am of the school of thought that one 30+ pitch inning is more damaging or dangerous than a 100 pitch complete game with low innings totals; I am also of the school of thought that you baby 18-21 year old arms a little, but a 24 year old should be considered a professional player and be managed as such.)

It is also the case that, as a Braves fan, I love the idea of shutting Strasburg down. I'd like to see as many John Lannan starts out of DC as possible down the stretch.

With all of that said, the quoted bit above is just absurd. If the Nationals want to shut their pitcher down, they can shut their pitcher down. The idea that MLB needs to step in and make a club do something they don't want to do with their roster "for the good of baseball" is just completely irrational and out of bounds.
   103. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 22, 2012 at 12:57 PM (#4189073)
As a compromise why don't they start his 2013 season in the middle of May? Even though I really don't think these limits do anything positive for the pitcher or especially the team.


I'm kind of surprised they didn't do that in 2012, actually, given that they were going to shut him down come September or whatever anyway. Of course, wins in April count just as much as wins in September, and wins in the playoffs are grotesquely over-emphasized.

And picking up on that last statement, basically this is a new argument for my point that playoff games are exhibition games. Here, the upper management of the Nats care about playoff games so little that they're willing to shut the game's best pitcher down for the playoffs in return for speculative gain.
   104. SoSH U at work Posted: July 22, 2012 at 02:14 PM (#4189120)
Here, the upper management of the Nats care about playoff games so little that they're willing to shut the game's best pitcher down for the playoffs in return for speculative gain.


That's absurd.

The Nats are truly worried that too many pitches thrown this year will jeopardize Strasburg's long-term health. They also arrived in postseason contention a year earlier than they expected (if they saw themselves as playoff hopefuls before the year began, then they probably delay Strasburg's start of the season to May as suggested). The idea that they have the same exhibition outlook toward the postseason as you do because of their handling of Strasburg is a fantasy.
   105. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 22, 2012 at 02:21 PM (#4189134)
That's absurd.


No, it's not. The fact is that they're shutting him down before the playoffs.
   106. SoSH U at work Posted: July 22, 2012 at 02:48 PM (#4189180)
No, it's not. The fact is that they're shutting him down before the playoffs.


That's been the plan since before the season started, when Rizzo didn't think Nats would be a leading playoff contender. Their decision on Strasburg doesn't indicate anything about where they view the importance of the playoffs vs. the regular season (let alone your "exhibition" silliness). All it tells us is that Rizzo's top priority is Strasburg's long-term health.
   107. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 22, 2012 at 03:00 PM (#4189186)
That's been the plan since before the season started, when Rizzo didn't think Nats would be a leading playoff contender.


And? Even if so, a plan can be changed. And if the playoffs were So Important to Rizzo, he would change the plan.

Their decision on Strasburg doesn't indicate anything about where they view the importance of the playoffs vs. the regular season (let alone your "exhibition" silliness). All it tells us is that Rizzo's top priority is Strasburg's long-term health.


He's placing a speculative health advantage -- and let's be clear; that's exactly what this is -- over the playoffs.

That is quite telling.
   108. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: July 22, 2012 at 03:11 PM (#4189190)
Let's also be clear that it doesn't make a damned bit of difference how much we believe the health advantage to be speculative, since Rizzo clearly believes that it is more than real enough to act on.
   109. SoSH U at work Posted: July 22, 2012 at 03:17 PM (#4189198)
And? Even if so, a plan can be changed. And if the playoffs were So Important to Rizzo, he would change the plan.


If you want to claim that the playoffs aren't as important to Rizzo as Strasburg's health, go right ahead (it's not certain, but it's at least arguable). But you can't determine how important the playoffs are to him compared to the regular season, which is what you did with your initial exhibition remark, no matter how much unnecessary capitalization you use.

He's placing a speculative health advantage -- and let's be clear; that's exactly what this is -- over the playoffs.

That is quite telling.


Ray, just because you're receiving a certain message doesn't mean that is the message being sent. Haven't the doctors been over this with you?

This decision only tells us that when it comes to protecting Strasburg's health*, nothing at the moment will get him to deviate from what he believes is the best course of action. Concluding anything else is just wishcasting that someone, somewhere in MLB shares your bizarre view on the postseason's meaninglessness.

* acknowledging that whether this is actually beneficial to Strasburg's long-term health is unknown.
   110. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 22, 2012 at 03:43 PM (#4189222)
I don't claim Rizzo doesn't care about the playoffs. I claim that this shows he (*) isn't obsessed over them the way most everyone else is.

(*) And whoever else in the organization either helped him make this decision or is in a position to put a stop to this but isn't preventing it.
   111. Monty Posted: July 22, 2012 at 03:52 PM (#4189227)
I don't claim Rizzo doesn't care about the playoffs. I claim that this shows he (*) isn't obsessed over them the way most everyone else is.


Do you think he's going to keep Strasburg off the playoff roster?
   112. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 22, 2012 at 04:03 PM (#4189229)
#111, isn't this basically what he says he's going to do, which everyone finds insane?
   113. Monty Posted: July 22, 2012 at 04:09 PM (#4189237)
#111, isn't this basically what he says he's going to do, which everyone finds insane?


He hasn't actually said what he's going to do, as far as I can tell. The quotes in the article say he'll be using "the eye test." All he'll commit to is that he's not going to shut Strasburg down for a month and then start pitching him again. There aren't any quotes out there saying "I am definitely leaving Strasburg off the playoff roster."
   114. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: July 22, 2012 at 04:13 PM (#4189239)
isn't this basically what he says he's going to do


Yes, and whatever else we can find to argue about in all of this, I don't see how Rizzo backs away from it at this point. He's about as likely to change his mind as Bashar al-Assad is to fly to Jerusalem tomorrow morning and surrender to the Israeli Army.
   115. boteman Posted: July 22, 2012 at 04:25 PM (#4189241)
You're forgetting that a trip to the playoffs, and especially the World Series, means big cash, not prizes. I have to believe that Rizzo considers this somewhat more important than an exhibition.
   116. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 22, 2012 at 04:29 PM (#4189246)
He hasn't actually said what he's going to do, as far as I can tell.

He has, if you want to check a few Washington Post articles that probably weren't posted here. Straburg will be treated the same as Jordan Zimmermann was last year. When may be subject to an "eye test" but the number will be around 160-170 innings, not 200 or 220. Rizzo has also ruled out the various shutdown/stretch out scenarios discussed here. While many may disagree, the Nationals think they are following the best practice for recovery from TJ surgery.
   117. SoSH U at work Posted: July 22, 2012 at 04:33 PM (#4189250)
I don't claim Rizzo doesn't care about the playoffs. I claim that this shows he (*) isn't obsessed over them the way most everyone else is.


Well that's a more reasonable position than the one you made in 103, though I still think you're overstating what this decision (which, of course, is still subject to change) tells us. It's possible that Rizzo is just as "obsessed" with the playoffs as the next GM, but also believes, for instance, that Strasburg will start to lose effectiveness if he's pushed too much past his previous high, and therefore his availability will not do much to shift the Nats' playoff odds. Or, that the team has the starting pitching depth to overcome his absence in the crapshoot that is the playoffs. Or that pitching one strike beyond the limit will absolutely turn his shoulder into mush. Or that the Nats, with a healthy Strasburg, have a better chance of winning a WS in 2013-16 than they do in 2012.

* Summarizing these entirely speculative (and it's only fair to speculate, since you know, Rizzo himself is already speculating on the dangers posed by too many pitches this season) possibilities, you could say that Rizzo believes the odds of Strasburg injuring himself if he throws past his eye-test limit vastly outweigh the improved odds his availability gives the team in this postseason, and thus is not a bet he's interested in making. But none of it would show much importance Rizzo places on the postseason itself.

Oh, and for the record, if Rizzo were to do an about-face and decide that they were going to do whatever it takes to make Strasburg available for the postseason, it also wouldn't tell us that he is, in fact, "obsessed" with the playoffs.
   118. Monty Posted: July 22, 2012 at 04:34 PM (#4189251)
He has, if you want to check a few Washington Post articles that probably weren't posted here.


I'd be happy to, but BBTF has made me lazy. So many baseball articles get posted here that I tend to assume they're all here. I did a cursory Google search, but there are so many random speculation columns and blogs out there that I couldn't find any proper news articles.
   119. JE (Jason) Posted: July 22, 2012 at 05:11 PM (#4189268)
He has, if you want to check a few Washington Post articles that probably weren't posted here. Straburg will be treated the same as Jordan Zimmermann was last year. When may be subject to an "eye test" but the number will be around 160-170 innings, not 200 or 220.

Clapper, Rizzo never said 160-70, at least not publicly. However, he has said that Strasburg will not throw 200 innings.
   120. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 22, 2012 at 05:36 PM (#4189277)
Rizzo never said 160-70, at least not publicly. However, he has said that Strasburg will not throw 200 innings.

Well, "similar to Zimmerman" as well as "not 200" suggests 160-170 would be in the ballpark. Might be a little higher if Strasburg is going well and the playoff race is close, although Rizzo keeps saying the later won't be a factor
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