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Drew Storen is here, so why not Stephen Strasburg?

Morning roundup

In explaining why he called up Drew Storen now, Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo, in part, said, "What more can we ask him to do in the minor leagues that he can't do in the major leagues?"

There is, of course, another pitcher running empty on unaccomplished objectives in the Nationals minor leagues. What more can they ask Stephen Strasburg to do? In four of his last five minor leagues starts, he has allowed one hit or no hits. His last start was ridiculously dominant, a six-inning no hitter in which he struck out seven.

The rationale for bringing up Storen makes sense. Why does it not extend to Strasburg? The primary reason is the obvious financial stakes. The implications of making Strasburg a Super 2, the likely fate of Storen, are far more severe and expensive than in Storen's case. And Storen himself pointed out the difference.

"We're in different situations," Storen said. "I'm not a starter. I signed earlier. He's going to be here soon. We'll end up in the same spot. That's the big thing. It's sad he's not on my team now. But it wasn't a race or anything. I can't compete with him. That's the truth. I can't compete with what he has. That's why we do different things."

So for now, Strasburg and his 1.06 minor league ERA will stay in the minors.

"I know what I have in mind with him," Rizzo said. "I'm not going to say if it's close or far away, but let's face it - this guy is a special, unique performer. Whenever we err, we need to err on the side of caution with him. Because we're looking long-term with the player. Being a starting pitcher, being a young 21 year old ... we're going to be careful with him. I know in my mind what the development plan is for him. I have a window. I know when he's going to come up. In this job, you're open for criticism, whether you do it now or you do it later. You either held him a month too long or put him a month too soon. I've got to look in the mirror, and I've got to develop him the way I believe he needs to be developed. That's why I'm the general manager of the team, because I have developed players in the past, and that's how I got the job. I feel comfortable with his developmental schedule. I think it's the right schedule, and I think it's best for him long-term."

If you're ready to punch a hole in your computer and screaming, "JUST BRING HIM NOW OH GOD DO IT NOW!" well, Rizzo gets it. "Of course," Rizzo said. "Of course I understand it."

So until June 4, the likely date Strasburg will debut, Strasburg will stick to dominating minor leaguers. And Rizzo will stick tempering the massive expectations.

"It's a very unique situation," Rizzo said. "I think the expectations are blown so far out of proportion and so far out of whack, it's almost impossible to reach whatever people think he should reach. He has to be comfortable in his own skin. We know what we're expecting from him. If he reaches his potential in my expectations, we'll all be feeling good about it."

FROM THE POST

With history from Walter Johnson to Tim Lincecum on his side, Boz writes not to panic if Strasburg starts slow.

Drew Storen debuted as the Nationals offense remained stuck in a rut in their 6-2 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.

NATS MINOR LEAGUES

Syracuse 5, Pawtucket 4: Pedro Lopez went 3 for 4 with two doubles. Eric Bruntlett went 2 for 4 with a double, and he's now batting .213. Chris Duncan hit a home run. J.D. Martin allowed two earned runs on six hits and no walks in 5 2/3 innings.

Harrisburg was off.

Potomac was rained out against Frederick.

Hagerstown was raiend out against Asheville.

FROM AROUND THE WEB

The Post's Dan Steinberg looks at the Nats' junk heap.

Some Roy Oswalt rumors are swirling around, and Federal Baseball does a nice job rounding them up.

FanGraphs ponders what direction the Nats are headed in.

Derrick Gould of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has the Cards perspective on things from last night.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 18, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Drew Storen , Pitching rotation , Stephen Strasburg , bullpen  | Tags: Drew Storen, Stephen Strasburg  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Game 39 discussion thread: Nationals at Cardinals
Next: Roger Bernadina's catch brought memories, not fear

Comments

Blah, blah, blah. And his carefully calculated developmental plan is going to bring him up the first home stand that won't cost them a year of contractual control. Practically a miracle.

Posted by: markfromark | May 18, 2010 6:54 AM | Report abuse

I don't get this.

You ask a guy a question when you already know the answer and you also know that he will not give you the most simple direct answer.

This whole topic is annoying. Everyone involved in the game, management, players, fans, media, they all know why Stras is being held down, and they all know about when he's coming up.
So why ask Rizzo a question you know he will not answer directly?

Bottom line is the Rizzo is doing the right thing with Strasburg, just be patient, leave Rizzo alone on this issue, and let this play out.

Posted by: Sunderland | May 18, 2010 7:52 AM | Report abuse

In the grand scheme of things, fifteen or twenty years from now, when Strasburg retires as a Nat (we hope), what difference will two starts he would have gotten had he been called up this week make?

What difference will they make even this year? Does anyone seriously think that having Strasburg here now would spell the difference between the Nats making the playoffs and not making the playoffs?

Relax, people. June 4 will get here soon enough.

Posted by: gilbertbp | May 18, 2010 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Doesn't EVERYONE in the world know the answer to that question by now???

Posted by: shanks1 | May 18, 2010 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Gilbert and Sunderland have got it right. This leads me to the Oswalt issue. If the rumormongers are right and the NATS leadership believe we are contending this year, they have been drinking more of the kool-aid than we fans. FansGraph give us 78 wins (I say 75) and if things go our way that could get to 82 wins. Non-playoff record but a decent season for THIS team which figures to do better in '11 and '12 if the NATS do not give up the bushel of prospects that they cannot afford to give up in order to obtain an aging ace who would not make us a contender. This is Angelos (of Old) and Snyder thinking at its worst.

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7

Posted by: adhardwick | May 18, 2010 8:43 AM | Report abuse

What the? (leans upper half of body way back in office chair and nearly topples to floor)

Seriously, I like the new morning feature name and photo. Niiiice. :-)

On another note: yeah, I'm excited about having Strasburg, too, but I could do without all the hoopla and speculation about his debut date. A. One player can't do it all for us, particularly a starting pitcher. B. (all together now, rest of the Nats roster): What are we, chopped liver? :-) I'll be glad when he does, because then I won't have to read all of the whinging about that any more (Yeah, I know. I'll be reading the whinging about something else then...)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 18, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

@Sec 204: Exactly.

Posted by: Meridian1 | May 18, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

@Sec 204: Exactly. Long-term roster moves may be necessary at C (depending on what you think is happening with Flores and Harper), RF (unless Bernadina figures it out), and possibly even CF (if it turns out Morgan isn't the answer after all) and 1B (if Dunn isn't extended for whatever reason).

But a short-term move for Oswalt makes no sense to me.

Posted by: Meridian1 | May 18, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Sign Oswalt, I will pitch in a $5 cheap seat and a coupla brew dogs.

Posted by: chillsonic | May 18, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Strasburg and Storen are completely different entities. Better to get a reliever to the majors quickly to learn how to get players out. Strasburg on the other hand threw a ridiculous amount of innings in his last college season and the major league level is not the place to keep players on an absolute pitch-count. History shows that the later the power pitcher throws a full season the more likely he'll last. Clemens did not throw a full season until his 3rd in the majors. Nolan Ryan, his 5th.

Posted by: kieran2001 | May 18, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Oswalt makes perfect sense. A perennial Cy Young candidate who has many good years left who can actually teach Strasburg how to be a major league pitcher. The Nats have to sign a mentor, Oswalt is a good one.

Posted by: kieran2001 | May 18, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

The NATS have signed a mentor. He will be pitching tomorrow night.

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7

Posted by: adhardwick | May 18, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

and one that will probably be catching tomorrow night as well . . .

_______________________________

The NATS have signed a mentor. He will be pitching tomorrow night.

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7

Posted by: lowcountry | May 18, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

If they don't start hitting in the clutch neither Oswalt nor Strasberg will make a difference the series against the Rockies and so far the Cards are examples why Rizzo needs to find a bat some of you keep saying that Dunn will come around but i don't see it he's taking way too many pitch's some right over the heart of the plate and when he does decide to pull the trigger he's always chasing a pitch way out of the strike zone maybe Eckstein can get Dunn on track, on another note Bernadina seems to be comfortable no matter where you play him and i thought Riggleman made a mistake by having him bunt in the 7th hell let the kid swing away even if it's against a lefty, a win would be nice tonight Let's Go Nats!!!!!!

Posted by: dargregmag | May 18, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse


Again? OK, I get the buzz for Strasburg and understand why people want him up, but this has been covered ad nauseum by the Post and other national sources. It was a business decision (well explained by Sheinen months ago) and they said he’s probably going to be brought up in early June. That’s 2 weeks away, folks. Sheesh. Old News.

Posted by: gonatsgo1 | May 18, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

says lowcountry as he brushes the dirt of his attire and digs back into the box . . .

(I too applaud the new morning blog title. Now bring us your best stuff Kilgore)
________________________________
and one that will probably be catching tomorrow night as well . . .

Posted by: lowcountry | May 18, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

I like Drew Storen a lot. I like that K of Doc Holliday last night, and I like his response to whatever question he was asked about him and Stras (quoted above).

All will be well. Even the bats will wake up again. One bad weekend does not a collapse make. We should remember that the two teams to which we've lost series were in the playoffs last year, and that the Cardinals have been judged by many to be the best team in the NL (vying with the Phillies for that honor).

The Mets come to town tomorrow. Then the O's. There will soon be happy times in Nats Town again.

Posted by: shepdave2003 | May 18, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

I think the Oswalt rumors are just that, rumors.

I wouldn't complain if they did acquire him though. A top of the rotation combo of Oswalt and SS for the rest of this year and next would be sweet.

Posted by: Section505203 | May 18, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

This was inevitable I hate to say. When we had that nice run I kept looking at the runs scored/allowed differential in the morning standings and, while it doesn’t always tell the whole story, it was obvious that we were winning close, low scoring games for the most part. You’re just not going to be able to maintain a decent W-L record over time with those results. So the lack of offense has come home to roost. We need those bats to heat up. Duh. Unfortunately we get Carp tonight so I’m not optimistic.

Posted by: gonatsgo1 | May 18, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Question on Storen: Do teams usually take a player in the top 10 picks to be a reliever? Isn't that unusual. Wouldn't you usually only take a starting pitcher or an everyday position player?

Posted by: dovelevine | May 18, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

"some of you keep saying that Dunn will come around but i don't see it he's taking way too many pitch's some right over the heart of the plate and when he does decide to pull the trigger he's always chasing a pitch way out of the strike zone maybe Eckstein can get Dunn on track"

Dunn has 9 homers (on pace for 37) and a .926 OPS (career .903). If he's off track now, I'd sure like to see him on track. He is who he is. Get over it.

Posted by: nunof1 | May 18, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

So now HE will be debuting on June 4th? Wasn't the guess June 6th two weeks ago?

Posted by: rockotodd | May 18, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

I think the Nats should go get Oswalt... and the sooner the better. We need another ace to help protect SJS so that he does not have to carry the load himself. Considering that Oswalt is owed over $30 mil, it might not take as much, player-wise, to get him. Roy has another year on his deal, so he'd be there for us next season too (if I'm not mistaken).

Our starters are doing a decent job of keeping us in games, but we need more guys that can win games on their own. Oswalt fits that bill. But the team needs that stopper NOW - an no, SJS probably won't be our stopper this season. To be a real contender, we need a two-headed monster on top of our staff. Getting Oswalt gives us that without having to depend on Wang.

Posted by: sec307 | May 18, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Q: Should we try to get Oswalt?

A: It depends on who they want in return.

for clarification or elaboration see Rizzo, Mike

Posted by: lowcountry | May 18, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

rockotodd,

The reality is we don’t exactly know for sure. But the window for SS’s debut seems to be anytime from 6/4 though 6/10 for the CIN and PITT homestand. Plan accordingly (whatever that means). Heh.

Posted by: gonatsgo1 | May 18, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

I don't get why every sports journalist assumes Nats fans want Stephen Strasburg up RIGHT NOW. That just assumes we're ignorant of the rules of free agency. I'd much rather have him for 6 years over 5 or whatever, than an extra 3 or 4 weeks this year. I think most Nats fans would agree with that... Maybe I'm wrong, but I like the fact that they are trying to keep him for an extra year.

Posted by: CharlieF | May 18, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

@gonatsgo1
Thanks.
I hope its not June 5th, so I can go to both SS's debut and the DCU game.

Posted by: rockotodd | May 18, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Are we there yet?

Are we there yet?

Are we there yet?

Please just sit down and shut up. Dad will tell us when we get there.

Posted by: Natmeister | May 18, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

The Nats have 2 starting pitchers they can rely on, when Stras comes up--3. That still leaves 2 dead spots. That aint gonna get it done.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 18, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Well, Strasburg might be in the majors already if had he not waited until the 13th hour of the signing deadline to sign, deferring to his jackback agent.

They can afford Oswalt simply by dropping Guzman's 10M dollar salary. I thinly Guzman for Oswalt would be a nice move, but I think they should trade for a few relievers.

Posted by: jboogie1 | May 18, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

CharlieF:

The Nats already have gotten the extra year of free agency. The deadline for that was 20 days into the season, which has long since passed. What remains is the more fuzzy deadline to avoid Super Two status, which would mean arbitration and another $8-$12 million in salary in a couple years. Since that amount of money is a bit too much for one or two starts, then yeah, they'll wait until it's safe to bring him up in June.

I don't have a problem with Kilgore asking these questions, however. Rizzo said some funny things about not holding down a player who's ready for the majors. If Mike wants to do a song a dance, then might as well give him some coals to do his song and dance on.

As for the June 6th date, that was based on a strict 5-day schedule with no extra days of rest or rainouts. Since Strasburg got an extra day of rest this week, that date is no longer in play. The most likely remain June 4th and June 8th, though May 23rd is a vague possiblity, as is June 5th. He may also debut on the road in his hometown, San Diego.

Posted by: cassander | May 18, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

You are absolutely right doveline. But I believe that this year was/is not about "getting it done" (no more than '05 was). I believe that this year was/is about being "better" (75-80 games) than last year. Next year will be the more approperate year to do Oswalt type deals, maybe.

Sec 205 Row H Seat 7

Posted by: adhardwick | May 18, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

>>You are absolutely right doveline. But I believe that this year was/is not about "getting it done" (no more than '05 was). I believe that this year was/is about being "better" (75-80 games) than last year. Next year will be the more approperate year to do Oswalt type deals, maybe.

Ok but the picture is an ever changing one. If you start out better than planned, have 3 good pitchers in line on June 1 and a shot at a wild card, you make adjustments and change your plan.
That's what the Nats should be doing now.
They need 3 things pronto: a RF, at least 1 starting pitcher and probably 2, and another bullpen arm.

Don't misread this losing streak. They happen to all teams. The Nats are in position to compete for a Wild Card berth.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 18, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Oswalt said on XM the other day he is only going to pitch a couple more years, and would only accept a trade to a team that could get him a ring. He does not want to move to the same situation he just left. So this means the Nats are out sorry fellas. Now, the more intresting Astro would be Berkman.

Posted by: hansenjo | May 18, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

BTW can anyone help with my question: Is it unusual to use a top-10 draft pick on a reliver rather than starter or position player? Has anyone else ever done this?

Posted by: dovelevine | May 18, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Following a 4-game losing streak on a tough road trip, the Nats are only 2 games out in the Wild Card. That's what winning early in APril will do for you. Once we hit June and the Sked eases up, the Nats are primed to really get on a roll. This team is positioned perfectly right now and should make plans accordingly.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 18, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Gilbert and Sunderland have got it right.

Posted by: adhardwick | May 18, 2010 8:43 AM

Perhaps, but Strasburg is the very model of modern major leaguer....

Posted by: fischy | May 18, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I have two words for why they brought up Storen now and left Strasburg in Syracuse: Bryce Harper.

I love this move. They are rewarding the guy who signed immediately and making the other cool his jets in the minors. They are trying to prove to Harper that if he signs quickly and performs, he can be in the big leagues quickly, arbitration rules be darned. If he jerks them around, the Nats will protect themselves on the Super-2 status.

Well done Rizzo.

#4

Posted by: db423 | May 18, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Good one, fischy. arrgh... (that's supposed to be Pirate speak, btw ;-))

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 18, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

The Astros certainly may have spoken with Rizzo/Kasten about Oswalt.

If it means giving up prospects, then its a terrible idea. Just because you think you can contend doesn't mean you have to give up your chances of winning in the future.

The Nationals need to continue acquiring pitching prospects, rather than giving them up for pricey veterans.

If you are a Redskins fan, you ought to understand that this is analogous to giving up first-round draft picks for underachieving veterans, a process I read many complaints about.

Also, please do not entertain any junk that comes from ESPN Insider. They have to publish this speculative sensational crap in order to get suckers to pay for their content, as if they are the Wall Street Journal.

Posted by: jboogie1 | May 18, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

>>Also, please do not entertain any junk that comes from ESPN Insider. They have to publish this speculative sensational crap in order to get suckers to pay for their content, as if they are the Wall Street Journal.Posted by: jboogie1

Nails.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 18, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

I don't get this.

You ask a guy a question when you already know the answer and you also know that he will not give you the most simple direct answer.

This whole topic is annoying. Everyone involved in the game, management, players, fans, media, they all know why Stras is being held down, and they all know about when he's coming up.
So why ask Rizzo a question you know he will not answer directly?

Bottom line is the Rizzo is doing the right thing with Strasburg, just be patient, leave Rizzo alone on this issue, and let this play out.
_______________

Amen!

Posted by: richs91 | May 18, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Rather than bet the farm on a wild-card berth by trading prospects (in all likelihood, Zimmerman, Detwiler, and/or Norris), the Nationals ought to stick with in-house talent and contend for the division in a few years.

The Phillies are getting old. When they are over the hill, their spot will be taken by a team like the Marlins, Braves, or, hopefully, the Nationals, who stock up on young talent and are patient enough to develop it.

This is how the Braves won 12(?) straight division titles. That's how the Marlins won the World Series in 1997 and again in 2003 (2004?).

Remember how the Rays were the laughing stock of the AL East for a decade? Well, that's a low-budget team that is now contending for a championship now against Boston and New York.

Posted by: jboogie1 | May 18, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

"Bottom line is the Rizzo is doing the right thing with Strasburg, just be patient, leave Rizzo alone on this issue, and let this play out."

- Impossible! This is DC! We demand instant gratification! Managerial dilligence and long-term planning be damned, we want a championship NOW!

Posted by: jboogie1 | May 18, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

@Sunderland, is Bill Ladson still asking the same old tired question on Twitter, about whether Storen and Strasburg should be brought up now?

I expect him to keep asking it, even though Storen has been brought up. The question was tiresome a month ago, yet it was still being tweeted last week, if I recall.

Posted by: shepdave2003 | May 18, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

"BTW can anyone help with my question: Is it unusual to use a top-10 draft pick on a reliver rather than starter or position player? Has anyone else ever done this?"

Montreal Expos used their #1 pick in 2003 to draft a reliever named Chad Cordero. Perhaps you've heard of him?

Posted by: nunof1 | May 18, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

>>Rather than bet the farm on a wild-card berth by trading prospects (in all likelihood, Zimmerman, Detwiler, and/or Norris)

No one is saying bet the farm or mortgage the future. But good prudent decisions and trades can be made to improve this team now without gutting it. If you have gotten lucky and are ahead of schedule, that opportunity shouldn't be passed up.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 18, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

>>Is it unusual to use a top-10 draft pick on a reliver rather than starter or position player? Has anyone else ever done this?
>>Montreal Expos used their #1 pick in 2003 to draft a reliever named Chad Cordero. Posted by: nunof1

So then this is rather unusual and based on the number of years Cordero pitched in the majors, not a great idea either is it?

Posted by: dovelevine | May 18, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't have to be typical to be good.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 18, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of topics that have worn out their welcome, can we get off "trade Elijah Dukes, Bruney, and a AA prospect for Oswalt" for a while, please?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 18, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

The only reason it's unusual to see a relief pitcher drafted #1 is because most all of the best HS/college pitchers are starters.

In other words, if there happens to be a top-rated HS/college relief pitcher avaialable when you're making your #1 pick, it makes perfect sense to draft him. It's just not a scenario that occurs very often.

Posted by: nunof1 | May 18, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Roger the newpost, over.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 18, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Long-term roster moves may be necessary at C (depending on what you think is happening with Flores and Harper)
----------------------------------------

The long term roster move at C happens on June 7, the first day of the MLB Draft. The Nats pick 1st and will likely draft C Bryce Harper. The kid is very young and raw, but he's going to be good IMO (absent an injury or two of course).

Until Harper's ready, likely in 2012-2013 or maybe 2014, the Nats won't invest in a long term solution at C. It'll be a series of short term solutions like Pudge, Flores, etc. I'm okay with that.

The only way the Nats have to address C and try to get a youngster that can be a long term starter is if Rizzo & Co. decide that Harper's grown out of being a C and ends up in RF like Worth did after starting in the Orioles organization as a catcher.

Posted by: CJMARTIN04 | May 18, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

>>Harper

Pretty sure Harper ends up in the OF wherever he goes. He aint gonna be an MLB catcher.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 18, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Sunderland- THANK YOU.

Posted by: earthling | May 19, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

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