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Negotiations, Suspensions, Operations

Until Monday night, a figurative countdown clock lords over the day-to-day operations of the Washington Nationals, reminding all involved of the days, hours and minutes remaining to sign No. 1 draft pick Stephen Strasburg. By Aug. 17, at midnight, the Nationals will know: Either they'll have inked the most heralded pitching prospect to the richest contract in amateur history, or they'll have to explain why the deal didn't happen.

But in the meantime, the Nationals, according to industry observers familiar with Scott Boras negotiations, are stuck in a holding pattern. The countdown clock ticks away, but the real action must wait. Executives who've dealt with Boras in the past say he strategically holds off all serious negotiating until the 11th hour. "That's his strategy," one executive said. "He's got his timetable. That's his M.O."

Boras represents not only Strasburg, the San Diego State right-hander drafted first overall, but also four other players selected in the top 13: No. 2 pick Dustin Ackley (Seattle), No. 3 pick Donavan Tate (San Diego), No. 9 pick Jacob Turner (Detroit) and No. 13 pick Grant Green (Oakland). So far, none have signed.

Last season, Kansas City signed Boras client Eric Hosmer, the No. 3 pick, just five minutes before the deadline. In 2007, Baltimore signed Boras client Matt Wieters some 10 minutes before the deadline, and entered the day convinced a deal couldn't possibly happen.

Both sides involved in Strasburg negotiations have been exceedingly tight-lipped, refusing on-the-record statements. Industry observers, though, have speculated that the Nationals have already made a significant offer, and for now, are leaving it on the table. When Washington's acting general manager Mike Rizzo was asked recently about dealings with Boras, he simply smiled and wagged his finger, imitating the no-no of an NBA shot-blocker.

*

Hitting coach Rick Eckstein, ejected from Tuesday night's game after arguing a call at third base when Nyjer Morgan was thrown out on an attempted steal, was given a one-game suspension (served on Wednesday) and fined an undisclosed amount. Eckstein was tossed from the game for a comment from the dugout, but still came onto the field, and eventually had to be restrained by interim manager Jim Riggleman. Eckstein spoke early Wednesday with Bob Watson, Major League Baseball's vice president of on-field operations, and was told that coaches cannot come onto the field after they're ejected; doing so results in an automatic suspension.

"My competitive spirits took over," Eckstein said. "I felt like the guys, they were doing their part, and I said what I said. But I've been reprimanded."


*

A third opinion from Los Angeles-based orthopedist Lewis Yocum confirmed the assumption on Wednesday that rookie pitcher Jordan Zimmermann will need reconstructive elbow surgery. Yocum will perform the Tommy John procedure next Wednesday.

Here's what Rizzo said about matters:

"The MRI films were looked at for a third time by Dr. Yocum," Rizzo said. "He confirms what the other two doctors have said, and we are scheduling a surgery by Dr. Yocum next Wednesday. Jordan will arrive in California on Tuesday. He'll have the surgery on Wednesday. And if all goes well he'll leave on Thursday."

And after that?

"He will rehab throughout the course of the rest of the season in D.C. with us. And then to be determined after that."

By Chico Harlan  |  August 12, 2009; 6:55 PM ET
 
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Next: Braves 6, Nats 2

Comments

NYJER! Again! luv this guy (on this post too!)

Posted by: mo_dc | August 12, 2009 7:11 PM | Report abuse

What's up with Van-over and the Nats? Not just the last 2 nights, but it seems like repeatedly, we're on the wrong side of his calls...

Posted by: mo_dc | August 12, 2009 7:13 PM | Report abuse

RE: Eric Hosmer and Matt Wieters...Anyone have details on the delta between the asking and the final settlement? What was the public discourse going into the final day/hour?

Posted by: joemktg1 | August 12, 2009 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Once again....Nyjer was safe!

Posted by: FloresFan | August 12, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Bye Bye Stammen. You had a great run this year. Now you know what it's like in the show and you'll stick around longer next year. Maybe see you in September?

Posted by: mo_dc | August 12, 2009 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Yocum (and his team) doing JZimm's procedure on the left coast? I'm a little suprised that the Andrews' group isn't handling it - they're closer to "home", and are supposedly the best in the business.

Posted by: BinM | August 12, 2009 7:43 PM | Report abuse

What the last 2 nights have shown is that when Lannan and Stammen don't get the call at the knees (or slightly below), they get shelled.

Seems to me Stammen has hit the same spot at the knees time and again with his sinker, and if that's a ball, he's in trouble.

Funny thing -- it appears to be the same spot Lowe is hitting. He only gets the call half the time, but the Nats have been swinging at it. Braves aren't.

Posted by: mo_dc | August 12, 2009 8:03 PM | Report abuse

what was cool about the eckstein ejection was that in the replay it appeared to be Nyjer who was jawing away in the dugout. i'm guessing eckstein took the heat for nyjer because of the way he kept pointing to himself saying "it was me, it was me."

Posted by: NatsNut | August 12, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Yocum (and his team) doing JZimm's procedure on the left coast? I'm a little suprised that the Andrews' group isn't handling it - they're closer to "home", and are supposedly the best in the business.

Posted by: BinM | August 12, 2009 7:43 PM | Report abuse

----------------------------------

I thought I heard that Yocum was the elbow specialist, while Andrews was the shoulder/rotator cuff specialist...

I was flipping through channels and saw PTI on ESPN2 Kornheiser and Wilbon giving the odds on SS signing:
Kornheiser: 30% Wilbon 1%

Do these 'knuckleheads' even pay attention to baseball?

Posted by: TimDz | August 12, 2009 8:12 PM | Report abuse

What also was of note on the ejection last night. The umpire was wrong. Time to retire them eyes.

Posted by: alex35332 | August 12, 2009 8:14 PM | Report abuse

Great piece Chico, now on the final hour before the deadline which team gets to negotiate at his table first. Is it first come first serve? Or would Boras do a domino effect? Strasburg than everyone else. Gotta give Boras credit he has master his craft.

Eckstein is my hero, I wouldn't wanna pick a fight with him.

Posted by: hleeo3 | August 12, 2009 8:14 PM | Report abuse

was flipping through channels and saw PTI on ESPN2 Kornheiser and Wilbon giving the odds on SS signing:
Kornheiser: 30% Wilbon 1%

Posted by: TimDz

**************
I wonder what Vegas is saying?

Posted by: NatsNut | August 12, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Kornheiser, Wilbon, and Loverro know absolutely nothing about anything. They even fail at football.

Posted by: hleeo3 | August 12, 2009 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Two questions for Chico and/or the group:
Did Jordan Zimmermann get his MRI AFTER he did his rehab work in the minors and complained that the pain hadn't gone away? (I didn't read about any MRIs until after his rehab starts).
If the answer to that question is yes, it begs this second question: shouldn't he have had a precautionary MRI as soon as he complained of pain? Is there a chance, in other words, that his surgery could've been avoided if the Nats front office had ordered the MRI right away and shut Zimmermann down until we knew what was up?

Posted by: jdsp2000 | August 12, 2009 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Stammen is getting a good dose of what he needs to do to be successful in this league. With his approach, he needs to pound the lower strike zone; if he can get Lowe's consistency, that'll go a long way to sticking around the Show.

Posted by: mo_dc | August 12, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

"... it begs this second question..."

Posted by: jdsp2000

**********

uh-oh. cue Sec3, in three...two....one

Posted by: NatsNut | August 12, 2009 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Okay, Holiday looks like he's Dibble's ventriloquist dummy. I didn't even see Dib's lips move.

Posted by: twinbrook | August 12, 2009 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Do these 'knuckleheads' even pay attention to baseball?

@TimDz: Um, no. They're both "columnists", first & foremost. Wilbon is an admitted NBA junkie, and baseball coverage ranks well back in his priorities; TonyK is a celeb-junkie, living off headlines & doesn't even qualify as a sportswriter anymore.

Posted by: BinM | August 12, 2009 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Belliard almost got Dukes thrown out at the plate. What a bum!

Posted by: twinbrook | August 12, 2009 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Uh oh! Willie Harris is up. Please don't run into Belliard on the bases.

Posted by: twinbrook | August 12, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

@BinM: That was sarcasm on my part, but I agree with everything you stated on your post.

Posted by: TimDz | August 12, 2009 8:50 PM | Report abuse

@TimDz: I thought as much; we're both simpatico on this point.

Posted by: BinM | August 12, 2009 8:59 PM | Report abuse

I've been trying to post to apologize to Stammen for already punching his ticket to Syracuse -- got frozen out by the WP blogmeter saying I posted too often too soon. Anyway, that was during the second inning when he was throwing BP.

Nice recovery for him -- still with flaws, but seemed like he was hitting his spots to me. Just wasn't getting his calls, and then he made adjustments.

Bet Zimm and Hammer are glad to have Lowe outta there. Let's get-er-Dunn!

Posted by: mo_dc | August 12, 2009 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Dukes : regressing.

Posted by: periculum | August 12, 2009 9:12 PM | Report abuse

"I've been trying to post to apologize to Stammen for already punching his ticket to Syracuse"

At least as far as the pitching staff goes ... pretty interchangeable parts.

Posted by: periculum | August 12, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Off-topic (and I know it will fly against what a lot of the locals believe), but if the WJFK gives TonyK a radio show, it will amount to good money after bad. He's either lost touch with, or never bothered with most mainstream sports (Pro baseball, hockey, soccer, most NCAA sports).

IMHO, He'll either 1) talk purely about the NFL, remaining Redskin-centric, 2) become an afternoon version of "the Junkies", jumping between popular culture & sports, or 3) offer opinions on current pop-culture or his personal "bandwagon" sports topics and wait for, then cut off listener comments so he can bloviate on his personal opinions. Kinda like Szaben [sp] on steroids.

Posted by: BinM | August 12, 2009 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Kornheiser is not very interesting ... even if he thinks so. He is a nice "mensch" but beyond that ....

Posted by: periculum | August 12, 2009 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Time to bring up Storen. Why wait? At least you know ***he*** will throw strikes.

Posted by: periculum | August 12, 2009 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Nats luck returns ... watch ex-Nat Church hit a grand slam ...

Posted by: periculum | August 12, 2009 9:32 PM | Report abuse

periculum, i'm with you on Storen. Sept 1 -- welcome to the Show! Why not? We have nothing to lose and maybe a lot to gain!

Besides, helps for future negotiations, a la Detwiler: sign early, do your work, and get a chance to see the Show right away.

(yes, that means you, SS)

Posted by: mo_dc | August 12, 2009 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Brutal walks in the 8th. Seems like we were the only ones watching...

Did Burnett fall behind on every batter? Bergie with a big K but not enough.

Oh, and one thing I didn't want to let get away... Dibble's assessment of McCann on 2nd base telegraphing location of the catcher setup. That was the kind of insight that adds value.

I love ya, Dibs -- that was a beauty. And the catch back at Gonzalez was incredible! What an inning!

Posted by: mo_dc | August 12, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Dukes : regressing.

Posted by: periculum | August 12, 2009 9:12 PM | Report abuse
----------------------------------------------

Er from what exactly?

Posted by: soundbloke | August 12, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Only the Nats can end a game by getting a guy picked off of first.

Posted by: bigmook | August 12, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

That was rough.

Posted by: NatMeg | August 12, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

3 swings : strikeout.

Posted by: periculum | August 12, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Well we went from scoring runs in bunches during the 8 - game win streak to now, we struggle to score.

Boz has a good column today that kinda sums this team up.

Posted by: bigmook | August 12, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Next starting pitcher to get an audition looks to be Estrada.

Posted by: periculum | August 12, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Nice to know you've got my back, NN. I was watching the game at Duffy's. Plenty of good seats available, by the way...
*****************************
"... it begs this second question..."
Posted by: jdsp2000

**********
uh-oh. cue Sec3, in three...two....one
Posted by: NatsNut | August 12, 2009 8:25 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 12, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Encouraging part: Riggs pulling the relievers when they don't throw strikes. Discouraging parts: They weren't throwing strikes.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 12, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

And I guess I'll be the one to say it:
Where was Nyjer Morgan going??? WTF was he thinking????

He had a man on second in front of him. He wasn't even the tying run. You ABSOLUTELY CANNOT get picked off there. Little league error, TPlush.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 12, 2009 10:21 PM | Report abuse

I truly hope the Nats save their money and pass on SS if Boras wants more than $20-25m.
Considering the Nat's historical luck, we all know he will never pan out. That money would be better spent elsewhere.
(And this has nothing to do with the Learner's being cheap).

Posted by: 1stBaseCoach | August 12, 2009 10:22 PM | Report abuse

and speaking of saving money, the groupon.com deal for Duffy's (which has earned *** from the sofa) mo-dc posted yesterday expires midnight tonight, so you have less than 90 minutes. $15 gets you $35.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 12, 2009 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Sec3, I'd love to argue with you re: Nyjer, coz I'm loving the guy. But you're right. Little league stuff there. Blech.

Posted by: baltova1 | August 12, 2009 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Bigmook:

You liked Boswell's column? Forgive me, I couldn't disagree more. I think Bos has no credibility whatsoever.

A month ago he was talking about blowing up the Nats and then this week he compares the lineup to a bunch of all-stars. The man has no shame, he changes his mind as often as I change my socks.

That's not entirely true. He is relentless in suggesting the Nats have to spend money on Free Agents and he's not adverse to writing the same column on Strasburg 2 or 3 times. No wonder newspapers are dying, why would someone pay for such tripe?

Posted by: grforbes | August 12, 2009 10:44 PM | Report abuse

gforbes, welcome to the world of perennial loser teams. We speak of the baseball gods ... well, this is what baseball hell looks like.
Fans who want to trade the bums they hate for A-Rod, Cano, and 2 of the monuments; sportswriters who have no consistent POV, or don't like or know baseball to being with; owners who manage by bottom line; new announcers every year on TV; and a great radio crew whom no one can listen to because the're on the assend of the dial.

Not that I'm feeling discouraged, or anything.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 12, 2009 10:55 PM | Report abuse

y

Lost a y in they're

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 12, 2009 10:57 PM | Report abuse

and baltova, I'm right there with you Nyjer. Great guy, huge asset. But WTF?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 12, 2009 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Off-topic (and I know it will fly against what a lot of the locals believe), but if the WJFK gives TonyK a radio show, it will amount to good money after bad. He's either lost touch with, or never bothered with most mainstream sports (Pro baseball, hockey, soccer, most NCAA sports).
*******************************************

Korn-hole will be back on the radio, starting next month I beleive, but it will be on Snyder's group of stations (WTEM, et al), not the new WJFK. So, of course, it will be NFL - and Redskins - talk 99% of the time.

Speaking of radio, the Nats/Bonneville deal is over at the end of this season (which probably can't come soon enough!). The Wiz have already signed with JFK, abandoning WTEM. The Caps will remain on 1500, though I don't know why. Once WTOP went to FM, AM radio has become meaningless in this market. The only advantage with being on 1500 is the promotion given on WTOP. Otherwise, 1500 has a lousy signal at night in the western suburbs. I don't want to see the Nats go to WTEM, as they'll always be a distant second to the football team. WJFK might be a good fit though...

Posted by: BGinVA | August 12, 2009 11:17 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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