Why the Nationals Are Making a Huge Mistake By Shutting Down Their Ace
There has never been a more hyped pitching prospect in the history of baseball, than Stephen Strasburg. Since he received the call to the majors in 2010, Strasburg has been nothing short of amazing. His blazing fastball, devistating off-speed pitches, and his composure on the mound, have made him already one of the best pitchers in the game.
After his impressive 2010 debut, on August 21st 2010, Strasburg got hurt. He then had to go under the knife and get Tommy John surgery. The surgery usually has a one year recovery time-table, and the phenom was put on the shelf.
Strasburg returned to action on September 6th 2011. He pitched fairly well in five starts, going 24 innings with a 1.50 ERA, and 24 strikeouts. Going in to the 2012 campaign, there was a lot of hype that Stephen Strasburg could take the next step into being one of the elite pitchers in the game.
Just like most analysts predicted, Strasburg has been nothing short of fantastic. He's gone 13-5, with 166 strikeouts, a 2.90 ERA, and a 1.12 Whip in 133.1 innings pitched, helping the Nationals to the best record in baseball(71-44). However, the GM of the Nationals, Mike Rizzo, plans to shut Strasburg down after he logs 180 innings pitched. He's also stated that once they shut him down, he will not pitch in the postseason.
It is understandable that a GM would be concerned about the workload of his star, after coming off major surgery, however, in this case it is inexcusable. Stephen Strasburg has been asked about this issue since the beginning of the season, and has claimed that he feels fine, and they would "need to rip the ball out of his hands" to cut his season short. If the Nationals weren't in contention I would have no issue with ending Strasburg's season prematurely, but the Nationals have a great shot to win a world series this year and taking the ball away from their ace will hurt their chances of accomplishing that.
Even if you shut Strasburg down now, there is no guarentee that he wouldn't get hurt in future years. A risk of playing the game hard is getting hurt, and if you want to win, you need to take some risks. The Nationals front office could be making a very stupid mistake that could seperate the clubhouse. Players such as Adam LaRoche an Drew Storen have already made criticizing comments on the decision.
If I'm Stephen Strasburg, I would fight and plea to the front office to let me pitch. If they don't listen to my desire, then I would ask to be traded during the off-season. It is one thing to ease a player back into the game after an injury, but it's another thing to baby him when you have a chance to do something special.
Without Stephen Strasburg the Nationals may be looking at a first round playoff exit. With the young phenom, they have a chance to do something that they have never done before, win the world series.
It's in your hands Mike Rizzo...what are you going to do?