If you didn't guess already from the title of the post, I am going to start up a little running series on what I would do if I ran the Washington Nationals. After finding some inspiration on UmpBump, I began thinking of what a great opportunity is actually sitting in DC for a competent person to run. I will not only be looking at the franchise from a player personnel aspect, but also a business one in which I come up with ideas that I believe will end up making money for this sorry-ass franchise. So I will essentially be looking at the situation from the eyes of the GM/President/Manager/Anyone else who is around to criticize.
The first topic to tackle is none other than the new face of the franchise, Stephen Strasburg.
As we all know, the entire process of signing Strasburg was a complete fucking mess (just go to MLBTraderumors and search 'Strasburg' to see what I'm talking about if you have been stuck in a cave throughout the summer).
Honestly, I'm not sure what the Nationals front office was doing. They had no upper hand in the negotiation process and ending up lucking out when they managed to ink him for four years at just over $15M.
Bringing in Strasburg is akin to signing a fairly big name free agent pitcher, in my mind, because his skill set is so far superior to prospects before him. And honestly, would any free agent pitcher of Strasburg's caliber sign a deal with the god-awful Natinals for the amount of money he did? The answer is a big fucking NO.
The nice thing about drafting Strasburg is that they didn't have to worry about other teams entering the negotiation process and offering their greater likelihood of winning. If I were the GM of the Nationals, I certainly would not have let the negotiations with Strasburg drag on the way they did. I think I would have ended up settling around $25M at a much earlier point in time.
And then I would have stuck him right on the mound the next day.
Right now, Strasburg is spending his time with the instructional leagues down in Florida. But my question is why? Don't you want to know what you are working with for next year? Don't you want to make use of one of your highest paid players? This is like signing Tom Hanks for a movie and then killing him off immediately like Steven Seagal in Executive Decision. It's senseless.
Here are the reasons why I would have had Strasburg on the mound if I had the choice back on September 1st:
1. Like I already mentioned, you are paying this guy out the wazoo for what the franchise is accustomed to. How on earth are you going to get return on that money without putting him in games?
2. I want to see what he can do against Major League hitters. Sure, he has made many a college douchebag look silly, but who knows if that translates. You put him in for the last month, then he will know what works and what doesn't against big league talent. Over the winter, you have actual MLB gameplay to go over with between him and the pitching coach.
3. Think of the buzz that Strasburg brings to the team. Without the hoodest man ever, Nyjer Morgan, reeling in web gems every night, there is no reason to watch the Nationals for this last month of baseball. I guarantee that every Strasburg start leads off Baseball Tonight whenever the Yankees/Red Sox aren't playing.
4. Merchandise sales. Enough said.
5. You make Boras put his money where is mouth is. However much people hate Boras, he always seems to be right. He gets his money for his clients because he gets them what front offices should be actually paying them, plain and simple. If Boras really thinks that Strasburg was worth $50M, then I put him out there and make him pitch to prove it to me. I don't understand why more front offices don't take a harder stance like this against Boras. If his players weren't worth their pay, then he wouldn't be able to demand what he does.
However, most importantly, I paid $20 on the FAAB wire for Strasburg. I really need him to pay off for me.