The Washington Nationals simply had no other choice, they had to break the bank to sign top overall pick Stephen Strasburg.
While Nats fans were left biting their nails, the deal came down to the wire, but in the end Boras’ ludicrous demand for upwards of $20 million were left to the dogs and Strasburg became a National.
$15.6 million shatters the old record for a draft pick by almost $5 million. However borrowing from the Boras logic, given that that previous record contract was signed in 2001, an increase of about $5 million is not that outrageous considering baseball’s revenue.
"It feels awesome. I got a little nervous there for a while that it might not happen, but I feel very blessed, I'm not sure of the plan right now. They said they'd bring me up for the media. They said to take my time to get ready. It's an amazing feeling. I really wasn't sure if it was going to happen, but I'm glad it did."
So get some sleep Nats fans.
Close your eyes and dream of a 2010 with a star pitcher in the making, and a front office you can believe in. As you pull your covers up and lay your head down, know maybe for the first time since 2005…the front office served you well.
And its a good thing too, next years top pick for us is already looking like a bust!
7:30 P.M Monday – 4 hours and 30 minutes left to sign Stephen Strasburg
Bill Ladson from MLB.COM and ALL NATS ALL THE TIME talked with Nationals first basemen Adam Dunn about the Strasburg situation.
"I'm on the fence about it, because the organization is doing everything it possibly can, from what I hear, to sign him and not embarrass him or the organization," first baseman Adam Dunn said. "I heard that they already offered him a record contract. How much more does he need?
"It's very frustrating for me, and I can imagine it's frustrating for everybody in here. I can understand how frustrating it is for ownership. I wish they would hurry up and get it done."
6:40 P.M Monday- 5 hours and 20 minutes left to sign Stephen Strasburg
Regarding Strasburg’s development, and his threat of sitting out a year, Stan Kasten had this to say:
“It really would be a mistake for him to put his career off for another year. We outlined for him a fairly safe, conservative development plan, because we never want to rush anyone. But let’s face it, if he signs with us and gets working out next week and pitches in the Fall League well and then in spring training … he could be up here in the major leagues as soon as opening day in 2010.”
4:20 P.M Monday- 7 Hours and 40 minutes left to sign Stephen Strasburg
Twitter be damned. Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heymantweeted an hour ago that the Nationals offer to Strasburg was only $12.5 million, not the $17 million dollar figure we heard earlier.
4 :15 P.M Monday – 7 hours and 45 minutes left to sign Stephen Strasburg
The only update in the news right now is that Stephen Strasburg updated his twitter:
“Strasburg37:back on twitter finally…huge day ahead of me, hopefully we can get something done today!”
That’s encouraging, for what its worth. Speaking of encouraging, Nats fans seem to be pretty optimistic that a deal will get done. Three Nationals news sources have polls up asking the basic question, will Strasburg be signed?
12:00 P.M Monday – 12 Hours and 00 minutes left to sign Stephen Strasburg
Check out ESPN’s Pedro Gomez’s feature on Strasburg at draft time in June:
At the 12 hour mark there is very little new news on the Strasburg situation. My best guess is this is one, because Scott Boras wants it to go down to the deadline, and two, because he is handling his four other unsigned first round picks.
Baseball Tonight spoke about Strasburg last night in their Baseball Tonight Minute. Former Yankees and Rangers manager Buck Showalter said he should, “take the slot money and go play” and that this type of situation, “will make the draft obsolete in a few years.”
As we know, Strasburg has already been offered well above slot money with $17 million.
ESPN Analyst Buster Onley said that his source close to Strasburg said that if he gets a fair offer the kid wants to pitch and he wants to sign.
Unfortunately embedding is disabled for this video, you can view it here.
10:30 A.M Monday- 13 Hours and 30 minutes left to sign Stephen Strasburg
San Diego State’s television station Interviews Strasburg during the year:
I recently wrote a column basically summing up the decision that has to be made between Strasburg, Boras, and the Nationals. I posted it in the, “Eyes on the Farm,” section so the Strasburg Watch could remain atop the blog.
Here’s a Preview:
“It comes down to tomorrow.
Tomorrow is when one of two things will happen. Either Stephen Strasburg signs and the Major League Baseball draft is changed forever, or he doesn’t, and people will be labeled.
Scott Boras will be labeled as the greediest man on earth. Some may say he already has that title secured, but an agent who refuses a contract that is nearly 60 percent larger than the previous record one is unconscionable.
Stephen Strasburg will be labeled as a sell out, a kid with no heart for the game, and will be ostracized by many players for at least a good part of his early career.
Stan Kasten, the Lerner’s, and the Washington Nationals will be labeled as nearly failures. They will lose as much respect as a last place team can when they blow away a once in a lifetime chance to sign a savior.
Check it Out: The Jamie Mottram from Mister Irrelevant and Duk' fromBig League Stew both provide their top Stephen Strasburg links for the day, both include The Nats Blog.
9:00 A.M Monday – 14 hours and 00 minutes left to sign Stephen Strasburg
John Taylor of the Washington Times pointed out that there are 14 unsigned players from the first round as of this morning, and that Boras commands six of them.
Boras players unsigned:
No. 1 pick Steven Strasburg, Nationals: We all know the deal here No. 2 pick Dustin Ackley, Mariners: Boras is looking for about $9.5 million saying if it weren’t for Strasburg, Ackley would be the number one pick in the draft No. 3 Pick Donovan Tate, Padres: Having his way with the Padres by looming over them his full ride to North Carolina for football if he wants it. No. 9 Jacob Turner, Tigers: Also threatening to go to North Carolina, but to pitch No. 13 Grant Green, A’s: Was projected to be a top 5 pick at the start of the year but had an off season, still wants top 5 money. No. 30 LeVon Washington, Rays: Has less leverage than the other players, but could force a deal as the Rays are afraid of losing similar type player Carl Crawford
Take a look at the six top players to ever receive a signing bonus of $5 million or more:
1B-Mark Teixeira –All Star OF-J.D Drew –All Star C- Joe Mauer – All Star, Batting Title SP- Josh Beckett –All Star, World Series MVP SP-David Price – Just Reached Majors SP-Rick Porcello – Just Reached Majors SP-Mark Prior – All Star, Arm fell off
10:40 P.M Sunday – 25 hours and 20 minutes left to sign Stephen Strasburg
St. Louis Post- Dispatch reporter Rick Hummelrecently interviewed Hall of Fame outfielder and current head coach of San Diego State University (Strasburg’s college team).
“I think the kid wants to play, having been around him three years. But this is one I thought was going to go to the last minute anyway. In my heart, I just feel like they’re going to find a way to get it done. The Nationals have said they want to make him the highest-paid draft pick. Hopefully, come Monday night, he’s got a signed contract and he can start making San Diego State look good and coach Gwynn look good.”
You’ve got to love a coach that will talk in the third person. It’s comforting to know that someone who understands the game both on the field and off the field has confidence not only in the ability but also in the character of a kid we’re about to possibly invest a fortune in.
He says that Boras is focusing on J.D Drew’s $7 million bonus in 1998, which came when baseball’s gross revenues were $ 2 billion. Boras then compares that to Teixeira’s bonus (10.8 million in 2001) which came when revenues were at $3.5 billion. Today revenues stand at $6.5 billion.
Brown points out Kasten’s comment from this weekend where he said, “if this is more about changing the whole way an industry does business, then we won’t be able to reach a deal.”
Clearly, one side will have to give in if a deal is to take place.
Check it out: Dan Steinberg of DC Sports Bog writes about the MASN broadcasters outrage over the deal, he transcribes the conversation between Dibble and Carpenter.
7:45 P.M Sunday – 28 hours 15 minutes left to sign Stephen Strasburg
Roch Kubatko from MASN reported this afternoon in his article, “Fit to be tied,” that sources close to the negotiations say that the record breaking offer which Nats president Stan Kasten alluded to last night was for $17 million. That contract, if signed, would shatter the previous record $10.5 million contract signed by Mark Prior in 2001.
“Washington’s current offer has been on the table since the team’s ownership group, along with president Stan Kasten and acting general manager Mike Rizzo, traveled to California last week to meet with the 21-year-old pitcher. The fact that Strasburg hasn’t since agreed to a deal, the source said, ‘should tell you enough.”
Check it out:Biz of Baseball wrote an excellent piece analyzing Strasburgs potential value and how his potential contract (their estimate of $30 million) would compare to other players at his level.
(Editors note: We will be covering the Stradburg situation from now until the deadline tomorrow night at midnight. Check back as we will have up to the minute coverage, much like our Draft Day coverage)
When I played high school baseball our team would travel down to Florida every spring. Parents often thought this was a nice trip for their sons to enjoy the weather and to fondly look back at after their paying careers were over.
That was a ruse.
This trip was a 168-hour opportunity for our coaches to get their hands on us and pound into us the fundamentals and hard work that would come to be the foundation of our season. Bloody hands, dehydration, and yelling…lots of yelling…became our world.
Now I don’t know how they teach it in Maracaibo, but in Virginia coach Grove taught us to get the suicide squeeze down at all costs. It’s a curve ball? Get it down. Pitch outside of the strike zone? Get it down. Pitch thrown at your head? GET IT DOWN! GET IT DOWN! GET IT DOWN!
This fundamental was lost on Alberto Gonzalez in the sixth innings of today’s contest. Down 4-3, with one out and a runner on third, skipper Jim Riggleman made a gutsy call to try and squeeze in the tying run with the back of the order coming up.
Willingham stole on the pitchers first motion and was on an island all by himself, relying on only Alex Gonzalez keep him from being stranded.
Reds starting pitcher Justin Lehr saw Willingham was making his move towards home, and that Gonzalez had squared to bunt, so he did what they’ve taught pitchers to do at a young age since baseball first began; throw at the batters head. A ball thrown at your head of course is the hardest location of a pitch to bunt. However anyone who has gotten outside of Little League knows that the batter will not simply avoid the pitch, he’ll just be forced to try his absolute best to not strand his teammate by either staying in on the pitch and laying the bunt down in fair territory or by get hit by it.
This is what happened:
(You may be thinking it looked like he tried to get his bat on the ball, which to be fair he did try. But look where his head is, looking away from the ball. Look where his knees are, on the ground. Look at the angle of his bat. Nothing here implies staying in on the ball.)
I wonder what coach Grove would have done to Gonzalez?
The Nats bats exploded in the early innings Saturday night, allowing them to hold on to the 10-6 victory over the Reds.
The offense started in the top of the second inning when Adam Dunn launched a solo shot to left field off of Cincinnati starter, Johnny Cueto.
That was just the warm up.
The next inning the Nats line up blew up. It all began with starting pitcher J.D Martin’s bloop single. Then after Nyjer Morgan reached on a single, Ronnie Belliard knocked home Martin. Then Zimmerman singled in Morgan. Willingham singed in Belliard and Gonzalez doubled in Zimmerman, Willingham and Dukes. Six runs in a flash and after two and a half innings the Nationals had a huge 7-0 lead.
J.D Martin didn’t just help with his bat, he pitched six strong innings Saturday. The rookie went six innings allowing only six hits and no earned runs. It was his second win of the season.
After the Nats laid seven runs on Reds starting pitcher Jonny Cueto, Former National Kip Wells came in to play mop-up. Wells posted an 0-2 record with a 6.49 ERA for the Nats in 23 games this season, and hasn’t been much better so far with the Reds. Wells allowed three earned runs in his mop-up duty Saturday while walking two and striking out five.
The Nationals also committed three errors Saturday night.
Mike MacDougal took the mound last night to slam the door on what turned out to be the Washington Nationals third shutout of the season.
When MacDougal is on, he will come to the mound and electrify you. He throws straight gas, the cheese, the dead heat. He has one pitch and he utilizes it well. His fastball races to the plate at speeds from 94-98 MPH with movement.
That movement is important. For every Inch a fastball moves baseball experts say the batter perceives and extra five miles per hour to the pitch because of the adjustment time necessary.
Why do you think Mariano Rivera has been so unhittable throughout his career ladies and gentleman?
Yet, clearly, anyone who looks at a Mike MacDougal baseball card can see his career has not gone the way of a Mariano Rivera…or even a B.J Ryan for that matter. This is because while MacDougal has incredible stuff he is marred by incredible inconsistency. His one pitch is great, when its on.
What’s so fascinating about MacDougal however is that unlike most streaky pitchers, it isn’t a matter of the closer being on one night and off the next. For MacDougal when he is on he is one of the more dominant bullpen pitchers in baseball, when he’s not, he’s a borderline AAA reliever.
Right now he is one what I at first glance thought must have been the best streak of his career. In the month of August he has an MLB leading six saves, and has looked unhittable. But after looking back into his career, this isn’t even close to his best streak.
As you can see one thing remains constant, his walk rate. It seems MacDougal doesn’t get into that much trouble unless his fastball straightens out, or the batter gets a good read on it. It’s like the old adage says, if it comes in hard it leaves hard.
These streaks are the reason MacDougal has stuck around so long as a potential closer in the majors. They’ve made him the kind of guy every team will take a last chance on, as the Nationals did this year. They are also however, the reason he has never been able to keep a closer job.
While Garret Mock wasn’t perfect Friday night against the Reds, he was damn good.
The rookie righty pitched six strong innings against Cincinnati, leading the charge that led to the eventual team shutout. Mock allowed only six hits and struck out six Reds batters. He also let up an unsettling four walks.
Jorge Sosa, Sean Burnett, Jason Bergmann and Mike MacDougal combined for three innings of two hit, no run, pitching out of the bullpen. MacDougal earned his 12th save of the year, and his MLB leading sixth save of the month.
The Nationals bats combined for only six hits and five walks, but converted two runs on solo shots by unusual suspects Ronnie Belliard and Wil Nieves.
Adam Dunn was 0-1 in the game with three walks against his former team. While a Cincinnati Red, Dunn received much criticism for his high strikeout rate. Dunn has yet to whiff this series.
It appears Josh Willingham has come back down to earth after unbelievable months of June and July which saw him bat .368/.415/.526 and .330/.415/.648. In August he is batting .286/.400/,524.
Ryan Zimmerman’s hit streak ended as the third baseman went 0-4 with 2 k’s. Cristian Guzman went hitless in his second consecutive game. This marked the first time he had gone hitless in consecutive games since late July where he had a brutal 0-17 slump.
Perhaps Scripps should rethink the location of their annual National Spelling Bee competition.
The Washington Redskins first pre-season game found starting running back Ladell Betts(due to Clinton Portis not playing) wearing a jersey with his name spelled wrong. Instead, the jersey dawned the name Bettis, the last name of a future hall of fame running back.
This of course marks the second huge blunder for a Washington D.C team regarding misspellings on uniforms. The first coming earlier this year when the Washington Nationals misspelled their team name as “Natinals,” back in early April.
The Nationals received a ton of flack for this, with the Redskins it has just been shrugged off. That just goes to show you the difference between an average team and an awful team.