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Source: Nats Must Increase Offer to Strasburg

The record-setting deal that the Washington Nationals have offered to No. 1 draft pick Stephen Strasburg will have to grow if Strasburg is to sign, said a source who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of negotiations. The specific amount of the Nats' current offer to Strasburg remains unknown, but it exceeds the $10.5 million awarded to Chicago's Mark Prior in 2001, still the record for an amateur pitcher.

According to the source, 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."

Almost all involved, to this point, expect the negotiations to go down to the final hours, if not the final minutes. Strasburg has until midnight on Monday to sign with the Nationals, who drafted him some 69 days ago with the first overall pick. If he does not sign, he will be eligible for the 2010 draft, and can perhaps spend the interim period playing independent ball. Agent Scott Boras, who advises Strasburg, might also explore the option of sending the right-hander to Japan.

By Chico Harlan  |  August 16, 2009; 1:41 PM ET
 
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Next: Nats 5, Reds 4

Comments

Well, duh. That's why they call it negotiating. Of course their early offer wasn't the las,t final, best. take-it-or-leave-it, positively, absolutely, we're-leaving-now offer.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 16, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

but do you suppose part of the early negotiation is divvying up which sides will leak to what sources?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 16, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

That's why "record setting" can be so misleading. If the Nationals offered $11 million, it would be a record, but non-adjusted for market inflation since the Prior signing. This news is obviously being leaked from the Boras camp. Stan's comments ("very real possibility he won't be signed") is a negotiating tactic. All part of the game. See you at midnight tomorrow.

Posted by: MauryBrown | August 16, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

The "source" is clearly from the Boras camp, but there's no news here. Nothing to look at, keep moving.

Posted by: BinM | August 16, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, duh.

So, anyone else think the "day-off" is overused on day games -- specifically when tomorrow's an off day too? Zimm is hitting well and the last off day seemed to take him a bit out of his zone.

Belly's "ole" was just plain lazy.

Eckstein's gotta be saying to players in the dugout to go with the outside junk ball instead of trying to pull it, right? Not just cuz Dibble's on repeat on the broadcast, but it's obvious when you see repeated weak grounders to SS/2B...

Posted by: mo_dc | August 16, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Based on a previous "leak" of what transpired during the meeting with Strasburg the number was in the 20 million range. Remember, the Nats offered Texiera the highest amount, more than the Yankees. The article mentioned something about a car and condo.

Adjunct to this, and this is purely my opinion, an intuition and hypothetical:

Noting the "other" candidates for the GM job. Jed Hoyer is known for helping to convince former O Curt Schilling to accept a trade to the Red Sox. He and DiPoto are both 10 years younger than Rizzo. To use a certain woman's perspective on such things: they "look like they take care of themselves". Whereas Rizzo does not.

I conjecture that Mark Lerner (not Ted) may feel that this may affect his interim GM's ability to get players like a Strasburg, or other free agents such as Texiera to sign on the dotted line?

I suspect that if these negotiations fail you, within days you will see one of those two younger job applicants with the Nat's reign's in their hands.

Posted by: periculum | August 16, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

mo_dc,

The day off will be a big day for the organization. Because of the deadline.

Hopefully, they have a long day of fielding practice scheduled for guys like Dunn and Dukes.

Posted by: periculum | August 16, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

WILLINGHAMMER TIME!!!

Posted by: HotNats | August 16, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Hammer time!

Posted by: BGinVA | August 16, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

MONSTER shot!

Just as I was about to make a comment about GAB showing a couple "mini-me HRs" that made Kearns a marketable hitter (lots of barely HRs that were flyouts in RFK and elsewhere. They turned a bunch of Dunn's flyouts into HRs, especially the other way.

periculum, your comment prompted something I wanted to bring up for discussion -- and suggest for analysis by Chico et al after the SS drama:

Dunn's defense at 1B has been pretty ok, dontcha think? I can only think of a couple plays where I thought "Nick would've made that play" since he became a regular. I would think many Cincy fans could be thinking "we should've played him at 1B instead of LF."

Posted by: mo_dc | August 16, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who thinks the Strasburg negotiations are going to seal Rizzo's fate is crazy. Rizzo is nothing but a bit player in these negotiations. Kasten and the Lerners are in the drivers seat. Rizzo is irrelevant.

Posted by: nunof1 | August 16, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

OK, Stan, you're up:

Source -- Boras must lower expectations for Strasburg contract

Posted by: mjhoya12 | August 16, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

@periculum: With your multitude of posts regarding minor-leaguers, and now the Hoyer/DiPoto over Rizzo based on youth, I feel you are simply looking for "the next new thing".

Change for the sake of improvement is a good thing; Change for the sake of change is either treading water or regressing. Rizzo has been a big step in the right direction over Bowden, as has Riggleman over Acta, in terms of creating a functional team & creating a winning atmosphere in the clubhouse. I say give them both a chance to continue the improvement we (as fans) have seen since the All-Star break - sign them both to permanent roles, for 2-years each.

Posted by: BinM | August 16, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

BinM,

NO INDEED! I like Phil Rizzo, I like what he is doing both at the minor league and major league level!!! I think he should have been hired/made permanent way before now!

I'm afraid I am trying to put myself in Mark Lerner's shoes ... and they feel an awful lot like Dan Snyders ... and that may not bode well for the Nats.

Posted by: periculum | August 16, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

2 guys with over 20 ... possibly on their way to 30+. One guy with 41, on his way to 50 homers. What a "Belliard's row"!

Posted by: periculum | August 16, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

OK, Willie Gandébol will be in the front row Tuesday night.
T-shirt Tuesday? What if Oprah owned the team? They'd have Ford Taurus Tuesdays.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 16, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

In other words I think they should "stay the course" and strive for some stability and better pitching ... along with a better middle infield. They now have quite the lineup offensively.

I do think they should bring some pitchers up for auditions from the minors before going out for free agents. They should consider signing a top free agent starting pitcher to lead the staff.

Posted by: periculum | August 16, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Not so much Murderer's Row as Depraved Indifference Row.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 16, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Homerun ball is KILLING us.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 16, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Man, I don't like this Gomes guy...

A two-out walk comes back to bite us. Go figure...

Posted by: BGinVA | August 16, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Where is ihatewalks when you need him?

Unreal.

Posted by: mo_dc | August 16, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Gomes has been feasting on Balester and Lannan. Not so with newbies Mock and Martin. Hmmmm :)

Posted by: periculum | August 16, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Lannan's walks are killing him ... mo_dc is right.

Posted by: periculum | August 16, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Five hits, 3 walks 1 home run.

The pitchers really have to work on halting the walks ... whatever it takes. This pitching staff isn't good enough to permit free rides.

Posted by: periculum | August 16, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Way to pitch scared Lannan

Posted by: curz | August 16, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Lannan 97 pitches ... looks like he is done for the day?

Posted by: periculum | August 16, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

but he may yet get off the hook ...

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 16, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Cripes they just needed a fly ball to score Willingham ...

Posted by: periculum | August 16, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

awwwww, man. that's on me, isn't it?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 16, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Oops...the squeeze didn't work to well.

Posted by: BGinVA | August 16, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Ugh. That's all I've got for that one.

Posted by: HotNats | August 16, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

wtf?? suicide with alberto gonzalez who barely qualifies as a professional hitter???

That was horrible.

Posted by: curz | August 16, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Willingham stealing home!? Morgan "La Fey" ...

Posted by: periculum | August 16, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

The squeeze wasn't a bad idea, and I give credit to Riggo for calling for it - it caught everyone off guard. This is something I don't recall Acta ever doing. The blame is all on AG for failing to bunt the ball.

Posted by: BGinVA | August 16, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Clearly, a new second baseman is needed. Maybe its worth it to see what Morse can do?

Posted by: periculum | August 16, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

The squeeze would be a good idea - with a reliable hitter. Gonzalez is not reliable.

Anyone else in todays lineup would have executed.

Posted by: curz | August 16, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

BG,
I'm with you. With AG struggling, and Lehr laboring to throw junkball strikes, I thought it was a good idea -- an it has been YEARS since a squeeze was called!

Posted by: mo_dc | August 16, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Lannan is way over 100 and not doing so well?

Posted by: periculum | August 16, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Gee, more two-out trouble for Lannan. Last inning, it started with walking a sub-.200 hitter, and this inning, it's giving up a double to the PITCHER. Now Lannan's done, and let's hope there's no further damage...

Posted by: BGinVA | August 16, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

If Strasburg doesn't accept a deal that substantially beats the previous record deal, the Nats should tell him to go F himself. Enough is enough.

Posted by: SadieV | August 16, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

MLB needs to institute a pay scale for these kids that get drafted. I know it's to late to do anything this year, but something needs to be done. Boras has 5 or 6 1st round players that have not signed their deals yet. Put a sliding scale in place and take these "bloodsuckers" out of the mix! A record deal is a record deal, sign the contract and get your a$$ in here! The economy is a wreck and unemployment is at an all time high and you are going to act as if you are insulted at being offered a $15-20 million dollar contract that is a record? You would feel mighty stupid if you don't sign and then hurt your arm before next years draft and have to have surgery because then you can kiss that big contract bye-bye! What will Scott Boras do for you then? I'll tell you what, NOTHING! He would move on to the next can't miss prospect!

Posted by: BeltwayBoy | August 16, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Well, if doesn't accept a check for $20,000,000, he's pretty much telling *them* to go [RF] *them*selves, don't you think?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 16, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

hmmm. there was a "Strasburg" in there somewhere, I'm sure of it.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 16, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Boras is the one that needs to go F himself. He's ruining the game.

Posted by: BGinVA | August 16, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Apparently, that is exactly what the Nats plan to do. They had better hope 1 or more of the teams with Boras clients right behind do the same.

Posted by: periculum | August 16, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Dibs, I know a few women ballplayers who would not have bailed on that play. Quit digging.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 16, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Baseball Tonight this morning kept showing the Reds are the only team in the majors with less than 10 blown saves (they have 5).

Let's make it 6!

Posted by: mo_dc | August 16, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

No lineups today ... no way to comment on Belliard batting 3rd? Wondering if they shouldn't give Morse a shot just to see ... he is doing some decent slugging down in Syracuse.

Posted by: periculum | August 16, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

(of course, the blown save requires a team to be ahead in the 7th inning or later, so that can explain some of the lack of BS).

Posted by: mo_dc | August 16, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Of course, the *other* answer to the slot-or-no-slot bonus Boras problem--let ballplayers all join the union as soon as they declare pro.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 16, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, why is Zimmerman sitting with an off day tomorrow?

Posted by: curz | August 16, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

does anyone know how options work after a trade? Does Morse's minor league options "reset" or something?

I would think that's a main reason -- he'll be called up Sept 1 anyway, and we got rid of Hernandez so we could play the guys we have more. In particular, evaluate Gonzo as a regular.

So, is the consensus that Gonzo is "evaluated" and the answer is not positive?

Posted by: mo_dc | August 16, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

They traded for Morse, he has has a break out year ... but Bynum is an IL All-Star? Then there's Ian Desmond who can probably play second as well as short. I'm not sure any of these are great fielders? The only recognized superlative fielder at shortstop in the minors that they have is Danny Espinosa.

Posted by: periculum | August 16, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

NO INDEED! I like Phil Rizzo, I like what he is doing both at the minor league and major league level!!!

Posted by: periculum

*************

His name's Mike.

Posted by: NatsNut | August 16, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

"His name's Mike.

Posted by: NatsNut | August 16, 2009"

Sorry, "Stengalian slip", keep getting his name confused with Phil Rizzuto.

Posted by: periculum | August 16, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

NB: Zimmerman is wearing his batting gloves.
Just a decoy? Maybe.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 16, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Arthur Rhodes!? Here's a guy who used to blow games for the "O's" like gascanrahan.

Posted by: periculum | August 16, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Hah, that's the old Rhodes ...

Posted by: periculum | August 16, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Dibble: "Please hurt 'em, hammer"

Nice!

Posted by: HotNats | August 16, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

If we get past Dukes and Zimmerman doesn't bat for AG there will be hell to pay.

Posted by: curz | August 16, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Zim.

Posted by: periculum | August 16, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

WOW!

Posted by: BGinVA | August 16, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

WTG Hammer!

Posted by: ts35 | August 16, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Hooray! I love it when Dibble gets pleased!

Posted by: amorris525 | August 16, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

OK, now THAT didn't happen with Manny. Nice block, Hammer.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 16, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Way to go, guys! That makes up for the SSqueeze.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 16, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Hooray! I love it when Dibble gets pleased!

Posted by: amorris525 | August 16, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Totally agree, the Giddy Dibble Giggle is awesome!

Posted by: HotNats | August 16, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

YES!
Blown Save #6, Lannan's off the hook, and Zimm shoulda been in the lineup all day ;-)

He can rest tomorrow with the rest of the team!

Riggleman's words about Gonzo will not be kind. Keep it going!

Posted by: mo_dc | August 16, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Love it when "the plan" comes together ...

Posted by: periculum | August 16, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

oh, i guess you COULD say the Hammer stole home!

THIS is a change in attitude - NATS!

Posted by: mo_dc | August 16, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Willingham has his head in the game, AG has his head up his a...

Posted by: curz | August 16, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

How about getting MacDougie a little cushion, now?

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 16, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Off topic

New 100M World Record by Bolt in Berlin. Tyson Gay set a new American record but was two steps behind bolt.

Posted by: nattydread1 | August 16, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

I love it when you bring in Rhodes ... :)

Posted by: periculum | August 16, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Coming in late on this thread, but...

I hate this "source" crap. Read the ombudsman column in today's WaPo. This business of letting anonymous no-name yahoos (=Scott Boras) to say whatever the heck they like is really lame.

To translate the "source": "We want them to give us more money."

Posted by: shepdave2003 | August 16, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

and he DOES have a chew stain on his right shoulder.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 16, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Wow, nice play Zimm, I can breathe again...

Posted by: HotNats | August 16, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

YES!!!

ZANG BOOM go the fireworks!!!

Posted by: HotNats | August 16, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

DOOGIE!!!!!

Posted by: NatsNut | August 16, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

this is a waste of time mark my words strasburg is the next mark prior. Nationals dont need a guy who right now cares more about money then he does playing the game. He's getting a record deal as of now and thats not enough. Rizzo Kasten just say f it this isn't worth it. Go out this offseason pick up veteran free agents dont need strasburg he is all hype.

Posted by: cjdwolfpack | August 16, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Four out save for MacDougall - Put another curlyW in the books! Sweet!

Posted by: BinM | August 16, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Really? I'll believe it when you post the picture.

Great win!

================================
and he DOES have a chew stain on his right shoulder.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 16, 2009 4:06 PM |

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 16, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

THIS is what the youngsters need to learn--how Dunn, Willingham, and Zimm just took the game. They TRUST each other, I'm sure, to get the job done.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 16, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

They drafted the guy, they need to get this done. The hype is just hype, they're ignoring it, and we should, too.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 16, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

shep - i'm with you. I've been complaining about the "sources" at ESPN and elsewhere who seem more like mouthpieces for Boras -- saying just what he wants in the public sphere.

Some "source"

Posted by: mo_dc | August 16, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Good game, way to fight through Lannan's walk to a .180 hitter and Gonzo's embarrassment.

Posted by: curz | August 16, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

and at the risk of re-opening a contentious discussion -- Willingham could have gone in low. The throw left the catcher hung out to dry like wide receiver coming over the middle of the flat, and Willingham laid him out. I'm a catcher, and I don't have any problem with that play.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 16, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Nice comeback to take the final 3 games of this roadie to go 3 and 3. Enjoy your golf game tomorrow boys. Macs' fastball today had some great movement. Zim got some rest and was still a difference maker with the bat and the glove. SS...take a look at the man playing 3rd during your coming career and get on board, ya dummy.

Posted by: cokedispatch | August 16, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

cdjwolfpack says "this is a waste of time mark my words strasburg is the next mark prior. Nationals dont need a guy who right now cares more about money then he does playing the game. He's getting a record deal as of now and thats not enough. Rizzo Kasten just say f it this isn't worth it. Go out this offseason pick up veteran free agents dont need strasburg he is all hype."

Why not just skip the draft altogether? Just forget about building a winner?

Someone said yesterday that the guy chosen 48th overall some year was better than the overall #1. So maybe just start the draft at #48, if you are going to draft anyone at all?

Obviously, the answer is to draft the guys you think are best, sign them, and move forward--even though much of the fan base says let the kid walk (like last year).

Posted by: EdDC | August 16, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Ed, I think you're remembering a post that Tim Lincecum was drafted in the 48th ROUND, not 48th overall. 48th ROUND.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 16, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Watching the wrap-up a few minutes ago. I noticed that during the game-winning play when Willingham scored, Dibble was speechless with excitement -- except for an excited grunt or two -- while the play developed. Then, as Carpenter called the play at the plate, you could hear Dibble screaming "Yeahhhhhh!"

I love Dibble. I never liked homers, but I love Dibble.

Posted by: thoward1223 | August 16, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

If the Nats pay SS $20M, and average attendance is 20k/game, then that's $12.50/game next year for Strasburg and his agent.

Simple yes, but it does show how risky these things are.

Posted by: nattydread1 | August 16, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

IN the end the kid himself has to tell Boras that he wants to play and is ready to sign. He can always tell him to use Harper to lead the crusade.

Posted by: periculum | August 16, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Nats_Lady -- this is for you.
http://tinyurl.com/levh3d

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 16, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

assuming the info from Chico was from Boras's camp than I think it is good news in what they didn't say......they didn't say the existing offer was not in the ballpark, insulting etc, they just said it needed to be higher.......that sounds like things are in the realm that can be negotiated.

Posted by: cabraman | August 16, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

assuming the info from Chico was from Boras's camp than I think it is good news in what they didn't say......they didn't say the existing offer was not in the ballpark, insulting etc, they just said it needed to be higher.......that sounds like things are in the realm that can be negotiated.

Posted by: cabraman | August 16, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Keep in mind, too, that $20MM isn't always $20MM *all at once.* Even bonuses can be structured payments.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 16, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

good point, cabraman

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 16, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

I think the deal gets done. When Boras allowed for a meeting with SS and the Nats brass, which is not the norm for him to allow, I get the feeling that they're not that far apart. Guess we'll know soon enough. Of course, they weren't that far apart last year either were they.

Posted by: cokedispatch | August 16, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Who says the Nats "must" raise their offer? He isn't worth it. Too big a gamble. If the Nats pay more the $15M, they're suckers.

I love the "source" and the "leaks" shell game.

Its not about news... there is no news in your post Chico. Its about being used. Used to further the interests of the Boras group. Congratulations! You are playing the role they have designed for you.

Posted by: muddapucker | August 16, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Someone else probably already mentioned this, and in another thread I noticed someone referenced the Post's ombudsman column today on the use of anonymous sources (good column).

But if the source really is Boras or someone from his camp (as everyone assumes), I think it's an indictment of Chico's journalistic integrity to report it.

My reasoning: Anonymous sources are important when they corroborate information or provide something essential to understanding the topic. Suggesting that the Nats have to offer Strasburg more money for him to accept isn't news; it's obviously manipulation, and the source actually identifies it as manipulation by saying that Strasburg clearly would have signed if the offer was acceptable to him.

Letting anyone directly involved with the story frame the story is wrong, and this is pure framing.

On the other hand -- did anyone else think that Boswell's report that the Nats "record-setting offer" was also clearly an attempt at manipulating public opinion? Especially considering that it was completely devoid of details? Just didn't sound like Boz to me -- unless it was Boz himself who wanted to manipulate the situation.

Posted by: thoward1223 | August 16, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

(Sigh) OK.
-------------------------------

Nats_Lady -- this is for you.
http://tinyurl.com/levh3d

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 16, 2009 4:38 PM

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 16, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

"and at the risk of re-opening a contentious discussion -- Willingham could have gone in low. The throw left the catcher hung out to dry like wide receiver coming over the middle of the flat, and Willingham laid him out. I'm a catcher, and I don't have any problem with that play."

I was a little surprised W'ham ran into the catcher rather than slid under the potential tag, but whatever works. And I don't think he laid the catcher out. I think he went in hard enough to disrupt the catch. Willingham is a strong guy, if he went in full-bore and low he could have flipped the catcher over, or knocked him back a good ways.

Posted by: ts35 | August 16, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

What shade of nail polish adorned Debbi's fingers while holding the MASN mic at Riggleman's news conference? Seemed like it was more of a deep crimson Reds color than a "Get Your Red On" Nats tint.

Posted by: Ted_Striker | August 16, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

These next 13 games are against teams with something to play for. This will be a good test. If they can play a game over or a game under .500, that would be good, I think.

Posted by: cokedispatch | August 16, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

4 total losses so far in August ... not bad at all.

Posted by: periculum | August 16, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Looking ahead ... late August through early October will be very tough ... especially with expanded rosters and the need to "audition" guys. It may be nip-and-tuck to avoid losing 100 games?

Posted by: periculum | August 16, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Greedy little sack of sh*t. You were offered over 10 million, and that's not enough for you? Take the deal and then earn the money by playing well. Somebody needs to smack some sense into the prima donna, both of them actually.

Posted by: futbolclif | August 16, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

John Paul Morosi (another Italo-Americano :)) weighs in on Strasburg:

And although teams are loathe to acknowledge it, that strategy has resulted in big paydays for some Boras Guys.

Take Luke Hochevar, for example.

The Dodgers selected Hochevar with the 40th overall pick in 2005. According to reports by the Los Angeles Times and Baseball America, he briefly changed representation to Matt Sosnick and agreed to a $2.98 million contract. Then he returned to Boras and backed out of the deal. (Hochevar offered a different version of the events on Friday, saying, "I was always with Scott. There was never a switch.")

Hochevar later signed with the independent Fort Worth Cats and reentered the 2006 draft. The Royals made him the first overall pick, signing him for $5.225 million.

By tumbling through the draft gymnastics, Hochevar earned an extra $2.245 million up front.

"You look at the guys that did it ahead of me — J.D. Drew, Stephen Drew, Jered Weaver — it worked out for those guys, too," Hochevar said.

Yes, but even the biggest signing bonuses equate to a small percentage of the largest free-agent contracts. When a player spends one full year outside organized baseball, he delays the start of his progression toward free agency. And that's where the really lucrative paydays are.

So far, Hochevar hasn't approached the success enjoyed by Clayton Kershaw and Tim Lincecum, who were also selected in the 2006 first round. Hochevar entered Saturday with a 12-18 career record and 5.27 ERA, although Royals manager Trey Hillman believes Hochevar could still project as a No. 2 or 3 starter.

Would Hochevar be a better-developed pitcher if he had signed with the Dodgers in 2005, rather than keep his career on hold? Would he be an effective member of the Los Angeles rotation, alongside Kershaw and Chad Billingsley?

"It's hard to tell," said Hochevar, who acknowledged that he has followed the Strasburg news a little. "That's hindsight. I don't know. I don't even like to think like that. I like to think about the situation I'm in. That's the only thing I can control."

Posted by: periculum | August 16, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Ugh, I seriously hate Boras!!! And I hate greedy people. We offered him a record contract, he hasn't even thrown a pitch in the big leagues and he's asking for more money.

Anyway, great win today!! I really think if Riggleman was the manager from day one, we'd be about .500.

Posted by: rachel216 | August 16, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

not wanting to read all these post so this question may have been answered.

Has SS taken his physical yet? I seems to recall that players must pass a physical prior to signing. I realize it is a formality but MLBRUMORS is commenting about other unsigned 1st round picks who are taking physicals today.

Posted by: mikeladd123 | August 16, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

If Strasburg ends up not signing, it won't be the Nats fault, they offered him a record contract. I hope they do NOT increase the offer. Keep the offer there, if he doesn't take it, then oh well. I hope he plays somewhere else not in the big leagues for a year then hurts his arm and that kind of money will never come around again. What a loser, stop being a drama queen and just sign the deal. Okay rant done. I'm happy the Nats won today.

Posted by: rachel216 | August 16, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

From Jayson Stark:

An AL exec essentially agreed, saying Strasburg's number would affect next year's likely No. 1 pick, Sports Illustrated cover boy Bryce Harper, but no one else.

But that's the narrow view. The reality is this: Once Stephen Strasburg makes draft history with whatever ridiculous amount he signs for, it will be -- as we predicted weeks ago -- a draft-altering event.

This, said one scouting director, will be the event that "finally gets the attention of the owners and makes this draft a front-burner issue." And by that, he means owners are almost certain to use Strasburg's package as the impetus to demand major changes in the draft in the next labor deal -- starting with a formal slotting system for all picks.

"In 2011, this will be the issue baseball will stand and die over," one club official predicted. "We have to have a slotting system. And the union will have an impossible time resisting that because their players don't want the money going to guys like this."

We think he's absolutely right. And in a few days, when the rubble from these negotiations finally settles to earth, you'll be hearing a lot more talk just like that.

So enjoy these last couple of days of silence on the Strasburg front -- because they won't last long. No matter how this saga turns out, it's going to rock the baseball world -- and not just the part of it that Stephen Strasburg dwells in.

Posted by: periculum | August 16, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Great to see us yank a victory out from under the Reds' nose through a bit of clutch hitting by Zim, some luck with the lob by Sutton, and some heads up, hard-nosed base running by the Slamma!

Posted by: poncedeleroy | August 16, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

On what Scott Boras may do:

From a longtime agent: "The two main forces driving this deal are (A) after not signing [last year's first-round pick] Aaron Crow … Washington is under a lot of pressure to sign this guy, and (B) I believe if ego can be put aside, Boras understands the tremendous risk Strasburg would take on if he were to go out and pitch elsewhere, whether it be professionally or at San Diego State. It's the risk/reward question. What are the chances that Strasburg's value will ever be higher than it is right now?"

Rationally, it seems like the answer to that question ought to be simple: Zero. How, in a sane world, could anyone possibly argue that Strasburg would be worth more after a year in limbo than he's worth now? Sound thinking -- except this is Scott Boras running this production.

"And I know Scott's track record," said one former scouting director who put the signing odds at only 60-40. "I know he will walk from a very good deal. He's had success in the past with walking away, holding out and getting his guys money a year later. So it wouldn't surprise me if he did it again."

"They're going to have to pay him," said an AL scouting director. "I don't see the Boras Corporation selling short on this guy. I see Scott going for a big hit, or he's going to walk away."

Posted by: periculum | August 16, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

For those of you who are wondering, 20 wins over the last 44 games would avoid another 100-loss season. With a LOT of games coming up against wild-card & Division contenders, this could be the final crucible for the 2009 Nationals.

Jimmy, it's on!

Posted by: BinM | August 16, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Aggressive no-holds barred, small ball inclusive baseball by Riggleman and the coaching staff. I like it and MIKE Rizzo. Mike may be the best sports GM in the Nation's capital at this point. His intuition about players is uncanny!

Posted by: periculum | August 16, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

"With a LOT of games coming up against wild-card & Division contenders, this could be the final crucible for the 2009 Nationals."

Yes, indeed! I wonder if this pitching staff will be up to the task? At this point the question marks appear to be more on the starters than on the relief pitching. Clearly losing Zim-nn is a factor in that.

Posted by: periculum | August 16, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

not wanting to read all these post so this question may have been answered.

Has SS taken his physical yet? I seems to recall that players must pass a physical prior to signing. I realize it is a formality but MLBRUMORS is commenting about other unsigned 1st round picks who are taking physicals today.
____________________________________________
Its the MRI's that ruin deals. Last year whoever represented Crowe did not agree to let him get an MRI until the last hour and then it was too late to find a facility and a radioligist to read the MRI.

Posted by: MKadyman | August 16, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

"I realize it is a formality but MLBRUMORS is commenting about other unsigned 1st round picks who are taking physicals today.

Posted by: mikeladd123 | August 16, 2009"

Are they Boras clients? It looks like he is bundling them all together with Steven Strasburg at the top?

Posted by: periculum | August 16, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

BinM,

If they continue at their current pace the rest of August through September even the experts will have to revisit their analysis of the team. With that kind of record they would finish as a team that would have to be considered on par with the Yankees, Dodgers, etc.

Last 4 in October against Atlanta.

Posted by: periculum | August 16, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

IF you're gonna fork over $20M+ pay it to someone(s) who has acutally PITCHED in the majors!! They'll get a comp pick next year if they don't sign the dude, then, he SITS out one year, DRAFT him again next year and let him sit out TWO years!!! Smoke on that Borass.

Posted by: bundy44 | August 16, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

"DRAFT him again next year and let him sit out TWO years!!! Smoke on that Borass.

Posted by: bundy44 | August 16, 2009"

As with Crowe, Boras will likely choose not to sign the waiver allowing the Nats the re-draft Strasburg next year. Boras is playing the game.

And MLB is likely to change the rules when they bargain next with the Player's Union. Boras seems certain to make himself the target.

Posted by: periculum | August 16, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Any sign of a gamer?

Posted by: periculum | August 16, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

PLEASE just take the offer and SIGN!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: rachel216 | August 16, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Rachel216: It looks like the 2nd pick after Strasburg may be getting ready to sign. That may be a good sign for the Nats as well since he is also a Scott Boras client.

Posted by: periculum | August 16, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Wins:

Nats 43
Os 48

Posted by: nova_g_man | August 16, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Periculum,


I think you call him Phil because his father is Phil Rizzo who was a scout for the Senators.

Posted by: WashOut | August 16, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

This is reading tea leaves, but I'm guessing the Nats have offered around %15 million, based on what Boz and others have written. The latest post was clearly from the Boras camp, trying to push the Nats up. I think they'll go up to about $16.5.

As Ryan Zimmerman said the other day, "When it comes down to it, Strasburg has to think about, 'Can I go to bed if I turn down 15, 16 million dollars -- whatever it is -- to pass up the opportunity to play for these guys?'"

I think he'll sign.

Posted by: baltova1 | August 16, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, but the Nats are only 24 games behind whereas the O's are what 25.5 games out and ---just got blasted for nine (9) runs in the top of the 13th inning.
----------------------------------------

Wins:

Nats 43
Os 48

Posted by: nova_g_man | August 16, 2009 5:54 PM

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 16, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

BinM,

If they continue at their current pace the rest of August through September even the experts will have to revisit their analysis of the team. With that kind of record they would finish as a team that would have to be considered on par with the Yankees, Dodgers, etc.

Last 4 in October against Atlanta.

Posted by: periculum | August 16, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse
---------------------------
Hunh? The Washington Natonals aren't contending for a playoff spot. How do you equate them in the same breath as the Yankees & Dodgers, unless they are upcoming opponents (which they are not).

The 2009 version of the team in April was top-heavy (offense, but no defense or pitching); Just about everybody on this blog saw that before Bowden got canned. The pitching improved in May & June under Rizzo as acting GM (JZimm callup & the bullpen rebuild), but finally "flat-lined" in July under Acta.

The team has shown signs of coming together in August, with some more Rizzo-driven roster changes & with Riggleman at the helm. The bottom line is, this team is currently middle-of-the-pool in the NL East at best. Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves, ok?

Posted by: BinM | August 16, 2009 6:02 PM | Report abuse


I was bragging on our gus closing the gap.

Yeah, but the Nats are only 24 games behind whereas the O's are what 25.5 games out and ---just got blasted for nine (9) runs in the top of the 13th inning.
----------------------------------------

Wins:

Nats 43
Os 48

Posted by: nova_g_man | August 16, 2009 5:54 PM

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 16, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: nova_g_man | August 16, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

guys, also gus

Posted by: nova_g_man | August 16, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Right, nova. Clearly the Nats are better than the Orioles--not as far to go to win their division.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 16, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

The Rigglemans are currently 3-7 against playoff contenders.....so let's wait until they play Colorado...Cubs..and Cardinals this month before all you Fools Gold posters go out and buy your Confederate/Monopoly playoff tickets........What they ARE accomplishing with their Riggleman .600 run against the NON playoff contenders is the strong possibility of falling below Quitsburg.....and even KC...for the worst record in baseball and a lower 1st round draft selection position in the next baseball draft.......and NO, there is ZERO chance SS would allow the NOTS to REDRAFT him next year if there is an insulting low ball final offer on the table....or he walks.....for whatever reason away from a reasonable offer ($20 mil IMHO).....

Posted by: unc1dmo | August 16, 2009 6:33 PM | Report abuse

They shouldn't have drafted this guy, period. They knew what they faced going in with Boras, all the hype, etc..

Bottom line, this dude hasn't faced major league hitting AT ALL, and they knew he'd be tough to sign, forcing them to face a PR nightmare once again for not being able to sign their no. 1 and two, wasting a no. 1 pick on some a hole with too big of a head for his own good.

Good grief, the yankees could've drafted this guy and they'd have the same headache. Boras is bad for baseball, and paying someone several million dollars for not ever going to work is ridiculous. This system is broken already, and Boras is trying to break it further.

Posted by: bigal197 | August 16, 2009 6:36 PM | Report abuse

This is what the Nationals should say to Boras and Strasburg, "The offer is on the table and the door is over there. Sign it or don't let the door hit you where the good Lord split you." There's no need to raise the offer because they will not get the money back from the fans. If they could afford to spend that kind of money for nothing, they should try reimbursing DC for the money it spends to keep the Metro open.

Posted by: Carole5520 | August 16, 2009 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Often people will pull some late round sensation out as proof that spending the Lerners' hard-earned money on a top draft pick is a big waste. I'll make this bet: if you analyzed the draft round-by-round, and considered all the players, then my bet is that the first round yields the most talented players, followed by the second round, followed by the third, etc.

No fair picking out individual exceptions, or choosing some particular oddball year as making your case. We would have to analyze all the players in all the rounds in all the drafts.

You can always cherry pick a player from whatever round as being better than a player in a preceding round. But that's not the bet. No one knows who those surprises are going to be. That's why they are surprises. But it is not all random.

PS I'm not doing the work.

Posted by: EdDC | August 16, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

re Strasburg,

screw Scott Bor-ass and screw Strasburg if he doesn't want to sign for what's on the table ... I'm with Boswell & others who doubt that any #1 pick pitcher has significant odds of paying off.

if he wants to play games for even more absurd $$ than are already offered to a guy who has won zero games in professional baseball, let him go ... to Japan, or wherever.

Posted by: fendertweed | August 16, 2009 8:58 PM | Report abuse

15 first round draft picks are Boras clients. Most of whom have not signed s of right now, 9:00pm Sunday night.

My view is that if we are offering $16M then that should be the limit. Let this guy go next year. No unproven MLB pitcher in the first round is worth $16M and HE IS UNPROVEN IN THE MLB!

Posted by: kthhken | August 16, 2009 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Roch kubato of masn has now stated the offer is 17 mil, with incentive that coul push it over 20. If he doesn't sign he needs to have his head examined.

http://masnsports.com/2009/08/fit-to-be-tied-2.html

Posted by: JDB1 | August 16, 2009 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Boras' floor is supposedly (according to "Boz") $25 million. That said, I think he couldn't tell his client to walk away from $19 or $20 million, plus incentives (that might take it to $25m?)... He may want to play this game of chicken, but in the end his client is Strasburg, not every amateur player out there.

On the other hand, the Nats can't try to win 'chicken' either -- they have to remember their fans and the marketing value that will come from this signing. If he turns out to be anything close to what is projected, he'll be a bargain at $20-25 million.

Posted by: fischy | August 16, 2009 9:35 PM | Report abuse

> If he turns out to be anything close to what is projected, he'll be a bargain at $20-25 million.

That's about as big an if as saying "if Manny Acta ever makes the Hall of Fame." Would you bet $20-25 million that that will ever happen? How about Lastings Milledge in the HOF?

Posted by: nunof1 | August 16, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

There seems to only be one person saying Strasburg is worth more than $10.5 million and that is Boras.

Put on some Kenny Rogers and "Know when to walk away and know when to run!".

This guy is worth $10.5 or $50 million or whatever when he has a proven MLB track record. Right now, he is a men amongst boys in the College ranks with an impressive No Hitter against the Air Force Academy.

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | August 16, 2009 11:27 PM | Report abuse

and just who would give strasburg the super megabucks next year? kansas city? pittsburgh? the padres??? he'd better go forward now.

Posted by: erniek4567 | August 17, 2009 6:52 AM | Report abuse

Source: Nats Must Increase Offer to Strasburg. To Source: $ta$burg must stop being a greedy d-bag, take the record amount of money being offered, and play. He is ruining not only his image, but that of baseball. Even if we do manage to sign him, he will never be a fan favorite as Zimmerman is. Zimm has class, $tra$burg does not.

Posted by: futbolclif | August 17, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Getting the first two picks next year is a good deal. This guy is no better as a pitcher than Ben McDonald was (according to hype), when the Orioles took him with the No. 1 pick. McDonald was a bust. If Strasburg doesn't take the Nats last $16M offer, let the time expire. Remember how the Wizards suffered after paying too much for Juwan Howard!

Posted by: kauf5413 | August 17, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Japan? Send him to North Korea and don't bring him back!

Posted by: rb-freedom-for-all | August 17, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

If you read the Post sports section today, plenty of Boras's clients decided to sign the last day, including Wieters of the Orioles. The decision is Strasbourg's, not Boras's. Don't blame Boras if Strasbourg decides not to sign with the Nats.

I blame MLB for having such a screwed up draft process and for not fixing it for so long.

Posted by: rb-freedom-for-all | August 17, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

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