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— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Nats - Optioned Strasburg and Storen

Washington Nationals - Optioned P Stephen Strasburg and P Drew Storen to Double-A Harrisburg.

While I understand (and agree with) the Nats not starting the service time clocks until they have to, but I really don’t understand the timing.  Yes, this is the point of spring training when teams start to solidify their initial rosters and clean house, but given the Nats situation, I would think that in the case of these two (especially Strasburg) that every opportunity to let them face major league hitters without starting the timer should be grasped.  Strasburg should have been the absolute last, last-minute cut that the Nats made, not one made two weeks before Opening Day.

Dan Szymborski Posted: March 20, 2010 at 02:47 PM | 10 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Barnaby Jones Posted: March 21, 2010 at 06:14 AM (#3483017)
Of course, it's a lot easier to make the case that he's not ready if you send him down earlier. Sending him down the day before camp breaks is just asking for whining.
   2. Something Other Posted: March 21, 2010 at 07:12 AM (#3483024)
Agreed. If you want to make it look respectable, do it early.
   3. caprules Posted: March 21, 2010 at 12:37 PM (#3483039)
There may be one reason to option him earlier, depending on how risk averse one is. Gamel with the Brewers is going to miss up to 2 months and because he hadn't been optioned yet, he will be burning up service time on the DL.

I don't know if it's wise to make an option decision based on the possibility of being injured, but I think the downside of that possibility could have more impact than the gain of facing major league hitters for a couple more starts this month.
   4. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: March 21, 2010 at 06:41 PM (#3483214)
If you've made up your mind, the honest thing to do is option him early and don't let him get his hopes up. I suppose you could tell him "Look, we're going to option you but we're going to do it late" -- but then you risk upping the pressure to change your mind if he's mowing people down.

And really, how much value is there in "facing major league hitters" in ST? Won't he actually just be facing *some* major leaguers, a bunch of prospects and filler, and some of the legit major leaguers just rounding into form and/or only getting a PA or two per game?
   5. RJ in TO Posted: March 21, 2010 at 06:46 PM (#3483219)
And really, how much value is there in "facing major league hitters" in ST? Won't he actually just be facing *some* major leaguers, a bunch of prospects and filler, and some of the legit major leaguers just rounding into form and/or only getting a PA or two per game?

More than there is for him to be "facing minor league hitters" in ST, which is what he'll be doing now that he's been optioned.

You're right in that he was probably facing a lot of scrubs early in ST. Over the next couple weeks, however, most teams will be whittling things down, so that he would be facing true in-spahe major leaguers (and quality prospects) in 75%+ of the at bats.
   6. Accent Shallow Posted: March 21, 2010 at 07:30 PM (#3483238)
I can understand the handwringing over Strasburg, but why Storen? Isn't he just Chad Cordero ca. 2004?
   7. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 21, 2010 at 08:34 PM (#3483264)
I can understand the handwringing over Strasburg, but why Storen? Isn't he just Chad Cordero ca. 2004?

Sure, but I think that actually works the other way. The odds of a RP still being effective in 6 yrs. is very small, so if Storen is one of your best six, bring him up today.

Strasburg you protect. You hope he'll be on your team for the next 15 years (if they get good, the Nationals can certainly afford Boras money in the Washington market).
   8. Accent Shallow Posted: March 21, 2010 at 09:52 PM (#3483288)
Sure, but I think that actually works the other way. The odds of a RP still being effective in 6 yrs. is very small, so if Storen is one of your best six, bring him up today.

The lifetime of an effective RP is often short, so you're right here, I think. What I really meant was that Strasburg is the highest touted amateur pitcher since Mark Prior or earlier, so maybe he doesn't need to go to the minors, whereas Storen is just your garden variety college closer, with only ~15 innings above A ball, so maybe he could use time in AA.

In one sentence: Strasburg's demotion may be about money and service time, but Storen's may not necessarily be.
   9. WhoWantsTeixeiraDessert Posted: March 23, 2010 at 01:17 PM (#3484124)
Storen may be better than anyone in the bullpen right now, but they'd have to go through the guys they're spending millions on - Capps and Bruney, before Storen would be allowed to close anyway. It probably wouldn't be as big an arbitration issue, but again, if you're really not close to the talent level of the other clubs in the division yet, you may as well be cautious with players. I bet the real question for the Lerners was, how much can we make on eight or ten Strasburg starts? Is it more or less than the value we will get by a lower arbitration figure down the road? I bet they could have Satchel Paiged him out there for three or four innings at a time to get attendance and keep his pitch count low.
   10. DL from MN Posted: March 23, 2010 at 02:09 PM (#3484167)
Strasburg had to go down early. He's on the 40 man roster, if he was injured after the deadline last week he has to spend all year on the major league roster on the DL. By optioning him early they can pay him minor league pay if he's hurt. He also would not accure MLB service time on the minor league DL. Storen could have stayed up though, he isn't on the 40 man roster.

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