Saturday, May 08, 2010
Can the Nationals have their cake and eat it too?
For the first time that I can recall, the Washington Nationals were a big topic on XM Radio baseball talk... and most of it was trashing the Nats management for keeping Stephen Strasburg in the minor leagues for financial reasons while the team is having a surprisingly strong start.
They are keeping him from the parent club until June or July to prevent his service time in the bigs from starting... and allowing the Nationals to have him for another year or so at a lower rate before he's eligible for free agency.
It's odd that they spend $15.1 million to sign him and THEN get frugal!
The critics point of view, that I happen to agree with, is the Nats might not be contending for very long... but having Strasburg plugged into the rotation could give the team another solid starter (arguably better than anyone they currently have) and the fans would have reason to get excited over the debut of the future and the surprising start. And of course that could also mean increased attendance, increased ad revenue and merchandise sales.
And if the Nationals tank in the second half, they can send Strasburg back down, claim it is to save his arm, when in reality it is to save some dough.
Well an interesting thing might be happening in Washington:
They might be able to have their cake and eat it too.
The Nats are continuing to win.
They've won 6 of their last 10 including today against Florida. And vulture reliver Tyler Clippard is now 5-0. He had 8 career wins before this year.
Matt Capps is closing out games and Ryan Zimmerman is the All Star worthy face of their line up.
I don't think anyone thought Washington would have a winning record on April 8, let alone May 8. A 16-14 record won't make people forget the Big Red Machine... but this is Washington.
This is the home of the most underrated suffering of any baseball fanbase.
They've been waiting since 1924 for a World Series title.
They've been waiting since 1933 for post season baseball.
That was three franchises ago!
Just imagine if they can have a .500 month, remain around a game or so above .500...
Then on June 7th, use the first pick in the draft to select their next big star (probably Bryce Harper)
Then a week later Strasburg gets called up and the hovering around .500 Nationals get a huge boost.
And the Nationals STILL get to save some money... which they can use to sign Harper... and then keep HIM in the minor leagues too long to save money.
It's the circle of life.